Before they formed the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, they investigated claims that the self-proclaimed toughest Sheriff in America, Mr. Arpiao, was abusing members of the Hispanic community. They unearthed the fact that indeed, he had been misusing his authority and mandate to victimize and subjugate members of minority communities.
In particular, he had been racially profiling them, intimidating them, wrongfully arresting and mistreating them and even charging them for crimes of which they were not guilty. They exposed his flagrant abuse of the American constitution and that made him bitter.
Without any probable cause, the sheriff forcefully arrested the two and wrongfully detained them. He abused them while they were in his custody. All that while, he did not charge them. He was only carrying out a personal vendetta in his official capacity as a law enforcer.
The two journalists did not take that lying down; they sued for 3.7 from the county, Maricopa County, for wrongful imprisonment, mistreatment and respective damages.
Justice was not served at the first court hearings, but the two adamant justice seekers sought it persistently by appealing all the way to the 18th circuit court where they were awarded the money. Thus, the precedence was set for other aggrieved parties to pursue justice.
The duo decided to commit the 3.7 million dollars into defending the rights of minority groups, especially for members of the Hispanic community that felt the wrath of Mr. Arpiao the most.
Larkin and Lacy also decided to join hands with other lobby groups that were in the business of challenging oppressive and laws fashioned for immigrants. They especially got to learn a lot about the litigation methods of combating legal subjugation of members of minority groups from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Together, the ACLU, the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, the Puente Arizona Society, and other lobby groups put in concerted efforts to make the 83 percent of immigrant deportations that get sanctioned without due process to go down. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Twitter
Also, through organized and specialized, challenging of the constitutionality of oppressive and demeaning laws, the human rights activists groups have continuously gained legal ground, thus making the United States more diversity tolerant.
It is a difficult and selfless thing to fight oppression, especially if the ones fighting do so particularly for others, and not themselves. It is an entirely different thing to get into trouble fighting for people’s rights, to fight out of the trouble, and keep fighting for the other people after the victory.
For an individual, a duo, or a group, to do it all legally and within the confines of the law is nothing short of phenomenal and heroic. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin did not only walk the talk, but continue to do so, with their heads held high, so members of oppressed and marginalized communities can also hold their heads up high.
The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund is a result of a good fight well fought, and still, a weapon conjured to deliver legal blows to the oppressive forces that demean others because of their identities. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are veteran journalists and human rights activists.