Michael Lacey’s and Jim Larkin’s Heroic Activism

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin did not have to go through an arbitrarily arrest to found and launch the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. In fact, the two veteran journalists, also internationally recognized for their efforts in the fight to uphold human rights, had been on the right direction towards protecting the rights of the Hispanic Community when they got arrested.

However, the arrest, one of the darker moments in the careers of Jim and Lacey, turned out to be the source of light that the American Hispanic community and other minority groups desperately needed.

Had the two sailed through their investigation against Mr Arpiao without any major legal incidences, they would have never set the powerful precedence that they did. Also, they would have not raised the 3.7 million dollars that the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund has required so much to further its causes.

Jim and Lacey got into trouble, arrested and mistreated under the hands of America’s self-proclaimed toughest Sheriff, Mr Arpiao. The whole incidence was illegal and had its beginning in an illegal manner still. Mr Arpiao placed the two under arrest for malicious reasons and did not act in the confines of the law. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Phoenix New Time

The two journalists had exposed the illegal activities he had been perpetrating against members of the Hispanic community. In reports that they made public, Jim and Lacey provided objective evidence that the sheriff had been breaching and abusing his constitutional mandate by;

  • Making off-the-books arrests
  • Brutalizing and shaming prisoners in county jails
  • Abusing his office to settle personal scores
  • Racially profiling members of the Hispanic community

For wrongful arrest, illegal detention and cruel treatment under the county custody, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin sued Maricopa County unsuccessfully.

They kept appealing because they were determined to pursue justice and send a message to all Americans who come across oppressive law officers. The appellate court found Mr Arpiao at fault and awarded the journalists 3.7 million dollars in damages. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737 and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/

The 3.7 million dollars was ideal to set up a good and lavish living for the two but they chose to use the money to further their activist causes to protect the rights of members of the Hispanic Community from abuse.

Since the most efficient to fight oppression seemed to be through litigation, the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund majored in seeking justice and claiming equality through litigation. The fund also employs other methods like negotiation, campaigns and concerting efforts with other stake holders to condemn oppression.

However, it mainly uses the Closed Fist Approach to reject draconian laws that allow for law enforcers to detain and deport immigrants without due process. Through the Closed Fist Approach, the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund directly challenges the constitutionality of such laws.

The need for such an aggressive approach is derived from statistics provided by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). According to the ACLU:

  • 83 percent of immigrants are deported from the US without due process,
  • 43 million immigrants in the US live in fear and without access to critical social amenities,
  • And over 78 percent of American inmates are from minority groups.

 

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