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The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, a Timely and Well Deserved Support for ACLU of Arizona

ACLU of Arizona has been displaying exemplary qualities since inception. It is a group of human right crusaders that never relent in defending the rights of citizens against the excesses of governments and nefarious individuals.

There is no doubt that the group’s meritorious performance in the recent and distant past contributed to its earning a place on the list of groups to benefit from the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.

The fund as the name implies is one of the magnanimous gestures of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. Both men co-founded Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media. While they were going about their business of journalism, these human right activists got wind of grand jury proceedings plotting to cover up the atrocities of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

They publicly cried foul and let the cat out of the bag. The County was furious and unilaterally sent armed men to pick them up late on the night of October 18, 2007 from their homes. These journalists were unlawfully jailed and maltreated.

The County never knew Lacey and Larkin were not men that could be cowed into surrendering their First Amendment rights. They promptly sued him to court and requested a $3.75 million as compensation for damages sustained. Read more: Michael Larcey | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Twitter

The United States Court of Appeals was the seat of the legal battle, which turned out in favor of Lacey and Larkin. The court also compelled the County to meet the financial demands of both men.

Lacey and Larken came of the court $3.75 richer. Instead of making their bank account fatter, they decided to use it to provide some financial support to human, civil and migrant rights’ groups in Arizona and beyond. This is how the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund came to be.

While it is obvious that the fund cannot go round all the civil liberty groups in Arizona and its environs, ALCU of Arizona is more than qualify to make the list of selected civil right groups considering its enviable records of defending the rights of citizens and migrants since its formation in 1958.

Records have it that the state law banning multi-racial marriage in 1960 was overturned through a series of litigations championed by ACLU of Arizona until victory was declared. The defense of Ernesto Miranda, a laborer convicted of rape base on his police confession alone, readily comes to mind. ACLU of Arizona went all out to save him from being victimized.

The ACLU of Arizona has not gone to sleep after its enviable past. Currently, the group has taken Jan Brewer, the Arizona Governor, to court for putting in place policies that deny young immigrants their access to driver’s licenses even after a federal permission had been obtained in support of their stay through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

There is no better way to spur a group to do better than to appreciate their past exploits, not just with words but in tangible ways, like Lacey and Larkin has done.

There is no doubt that the ACLU of Arizona now has more impetus for greater exploits in the fight against abusers of human rights.