Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin

Millions of people today are becoming victims of domestic abuse, violence, human trafficking, and discrimination. Endless wars and poverty have also created a lot of refugees, forcing them to move out of their home lands in search for a better life overseas.

These refugees, being oppressed and overpowered, has been susceptible to human rights violations. They are being labelled as illegal immigrants once they reached their destination, and face the threat of deportation back to their war torn nations once they are caught by the police. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia

These problems have touched the heart of some people, causing them to create organizations that would fight for the right of the oppressed. That is why hundreds of non-government organizations aimed at helping out illegal immigrants, victims of abuse and trafficking and those whose human rights are being violated has multiplied in the past years. In America, two men – Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin – are determined to help those people who are coming into the United States, who have left their home nations in Latin America in search for better opportunities.

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, along with their classmates from the Arizona State University, founded a newspaper called Phoenix New Times back in 1970, created as a response to the brutal Kent State shootings in the spring of that year. Through the years, the newspaper has seen immense growth, and it has transformed into a nationwide media empire, with the two being at the helm of company leadership.

Their journey to success was not always smooth, and one of their biggest trials came in 2007. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested in 2007 by the deputies of the Maricopa County sheriff, and their charges are about the leaked grand jury information about the investigation of their newspaper with the county sheriff himself, Joe Arpaio.

Back in 2004, the Phoenix New Times published the sheriff’s home address regarding a story about his deals with real estate companies, which was being investigated by the county attorney’s office as a possible crime with regards to the law of the state of Arizona.

The special prosecutor then released a subpoena, ordering Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin to send the IP address of all who have seen the sheriff’s home address on their website, but then the two published their subpoena as a sign of civil disobedience, and was arrested. Their case was dropped the following day, and as a form of solidarity, some media companies also published the sheriff’s home address. Michael and Jim soon filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County, and were awarded with $3.75 million.

The money that was given to them was used in creating the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund, which aims to support different groups and non-government organizations that are advocating for civil rights, human rights and migrant rights, along with their freedom of speech and participation in civic activities throughout the state of Arizona, including the Mexican border. To date, the fund has helped thousands, assisting migrants to look for better opportunities in the United States.

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