In the event that led two of the most important journalists of Arizona to the prison for 24 hours, an institution was rising, and it would change the lives of many people and communities around the neighborhood.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are the co-founders of Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media, but they are not primarily known for their work with the two media companies only. Their journalistic jobs and eagerness to find the truth has earned the duo a big reputation among fans of their work, but for those who advocate for civil and human rights, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have made a lot more.
In an evening where everything was going completely normal, the Sheriff of the Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, known for having elected himself as the “toughest sheriff in all of Arizona,” was planning a strategy to arrest the two journalists who were previously investigating the history and career of the man.
At that night, Joe Arpaio crossed the line: He ordered his men to breach into the houses of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin and arrest them right there. Little did he know that the whole country would release an outcry and not a single law enforcer would agree with his decision, thus releasing the two journalists after 24 hours in prison.
Joe Arpaio had been dominated by fear and was clearly hiding something that the two entrepreneurs and co-workers would soon find out. The past of the sheriff was indeed filled with corruption and schemes, but the result of his unthoughtful action was very beneficial to dozens of communities around Arizona and many groups that advocate for civil and human rights.
From the arrest of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin was born the Frontera Fund, or Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund.
The Frontera Fund was created and founded with a very distinctive and daring goal in mind: to fund and support those who advocate for human, migrants and civil rights while supporting freedom of speech and expression. It was a very far-fetched task if it wasn’t for Joe Arpaio.
From the night that they were arrested, the duo received a settlement money of more than three million dollars. Because of what they had to go through that night, they received the biggest prize of their lifetime, but one that they were not going to use for themselves.
The settlement money of $3.75 million was going to fund those who suffer from legal oppression and abuse of power just like the duo had suffered when they were journalists.
Right now, the Frontera Fund has already given their full support to dozens of groups and institutions around Arizona and the country’s territory. They have funded groups that raise awareness of freedom of expression and those who are trying to make a difference.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are big supporters of freedom and cultural diversity, and they are constantly sharing their thoughts and observations on recent news that defy those core traits of the American Democracy.