Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund Stems Out Of Injustice

There are many organizations throughout the United States and worldwide dedicated to fighting for human rights. Oftentimes these organizations serve to bring awareness to abuses of human or civil rights in order to bring about change. Human rights activists are citizens, rather than members of the government.

In fact, nongovernmental organizations play a watchdog role in monitoring the actions of their governments. They keep details of offenses and use all funds to help those they are committed to. They also seek to protect the members of another group, rather than their own interests.

One such human rights organization is the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. It was started by journalists Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin after their own rights were violated.

Lacey and Larkin founded an alternative media company which is currently called Village Voice Media, with weekly publications including The Village Voice, The LA Weekly and Phoenix Times. Their newspaper started small and grew over the years to 13 publications across the United States.

They are committed under a common vision to present a variety of viewpoints with quality writing. They were also dedicated to protecting their First Amendment rights. However, their honesty was not always appreciated. Lacey and Larkin were arrested in October 18, 2007 by Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio after revealing sensitive information against him regarding grand jury secrets.

Lacey, the executive editor and Larkin, chief executive were arrested after publishing a story telling readers that Village Voice Media, it’s staff and it’s readers were subpoenaed following allegations that the newspaper broke the law. The subpoena requested information on readers who saw the confidential material online, as well as reader information since 2004.

Larkin said he was arrested for unlawful disclosure of grand jury information after revealing Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s home address three years previous, following a conflict between the sheriff and the newspaper after they published stories on his real estate transactions. Village Voice Media’s legal counsel described the arrest as vindictive.

Lacey and Larkin sued the county, ultimately receiving a $3.75 million settlement. They decided to use the settlement money to set up the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund to support freedom of speech throughout Arizona as well as advocating for civil, human and migrant rights. They are particularly focused on helping Mexican immigrants and the Hispanic community in Arizona. Lacey and Larkin distribute funding to nonprofit groups who advocate for Hispanic civil rights.