Larkin & Lacey

As one sees article after article on human rights abuses and government sanctioned tragedies around the world, it can be difficult to remember that many people remain on the “side of the angels”. Thousands of employees work for human advocacy organizations, and their efforts have enacted social and policy changes internationally. The end of apartheid in South Africa.

The forming of coalitions to combat the effects of climate change and environmental pollution. Increased rights for women’s, homosexual, transgender, and various ethic and refugee groups are all examples of beneficiaries of advocacy movements.

Pioneering leaders among them include Oxfam, Greenpeace, the American Civil Rights Movement, and the British and American suffragette movements. All are iconic examples of what can be done when individuals with varying “skill sets” work together under the umbrella of a single organization. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey:

While no single advocacy group today yet has the cachet of the groups noted above, plenty of newer human advocacy activists are getting noticed. Former MacArthur Genius Grant winner Majora Carter has started the community environmental stewardship program Sustainable South Bronx. Grassroots activist and political appointee Van Johnson founded the Ella Baker Center to use hip-hop and other cultural methods to reach troubled youths. And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation uses partnerships to provide healthcare and improve the quality of life for millions of people around the globe.

In 2007, Michael Lacey and James Larkin joined the ranks of these activists. The two Phoenix, Arizona area journalists were arrested at their homes and incarcerated on the orders of controversial “law and order” sheriff Joseph Arpaio. Lacey and Larkin had written a series of articles in a local newspaper critical of the sheriff office’s treatment of undocumented migrants and Hispanics in general.

More recent articles had accused Arpaio of seeking to obtain information on the journalists, the newspaper, and its readers by the illegal use of subpoenas. Larkin and Lacey upon their jail release accused Arpaio of intimidation and took their own legal action against Arpaio’s employer, Maricopa County. A court agreed with the beleaguered journalists and awarded them a $3.7,000,000 settlement. The two men decided to use the money to found the Frontera Fund to aid victims of civil, migrant, and human rights abuses.

Settlement funds became available in 2013 and in 2014, a bruising midterm election was held with both parties announcing that they were “anti-immigrant” to woo voters. One candidate even went so far as to imply that migrants crossing the U.S./Mexico border were actually ISIS terrorists. In the resulting Mexican migrant backlash, the Frontera Fund quietly began distributing monies to cover legal fees and other expenses.

Today, following the philosophy that “we’re all immigrants”, the Frontera Fund donates money to human advocacy and migrant rights groups like the DREAMers program, and acts as a resource in terms of news and policy updates on related matters. Mike Lacey has said that he was raised to lend a hand to the less fortunate, and with the help of the Frontera Fund, he can do just that.

Click the links below to read more:

Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
Jim Larkin | Crunchbase