One of the repeating themes of the 2016 Presidential elections was Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall and to decrease the number of migrants coming into the United States. He has also threatened to do away with the “Dreamer Act,” which has allowed children of illegal migrants to remain in the United States with full rights.
One border state, Arizona has responded to the threats of immigrants by banding together. They believe they will be heard if they combine into one voice.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are two such Arizona citizens who have been fighting for civil rights for the whole of their careers. Lacey and Larkin are co-founders of the Phoenix-Times and Village Voice Media. Their company faced threats from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known as the hard time Sheriff.
Lacey and Larkin were arrested on October 18th, 2007 for revealing the presence of Grand Jury investigations and subpoenas against people who were watching Arpaio closely and writing about his illegal actions. The charges went further as the men refused to reveal a list of citizens who read their paper online.
The charges were eventually dropped, with the help of pressure from the public. Lacey and Larkin sued Maricopa County and eventually won $3.5 million dollars in the U.S. Court of Appeals. These brave men have used the settlement money to establish the Lacey and Larkin Foundation.
This Foundation supports those who fight for the human and civil rights for migrants. They also give time and money to groups who support freedom of speech and civic participation throughout Arizona and beyond. Read more: Michael Lacey | Facebook and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
One group that the Frontera Foundation is proud to sponsor is the Aliento group. This group was formed directly in response to the threat and fear that DACA students live under since Trump was elected. The Dreamers’ ability to get driver’s licenses and in-state tuition are being challenged at every state level.
Aliento seeks to educate students on how to fight back through advocacy and to promote healing through art and communication. Reyna Montoya is the founder and Executive Director of Aliento and she intends to train and educate migrants not to live in fear.
Groups such as the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Aliento are using resources and time to make a difference in Arizona. They believe if all Arizonians come together and work toward the goal of fair treatment of migrants, changes can be made.
The courage of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have inspired others such as Reyna Montoya to stand up against the fear and threats being aimed at migrants and their families. It will take more brave leaders to stand up, across the nation, to solve the issues that are so threatening to migrants and other minorities everywhere.