The Frontera Fund: A Database Solution for Immigration Rights

Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are the founders of the Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund. The fund was set up with the sole purpose of helping communities and their causes in regards to human and civil rights.

This is particularly true for those organizations that support immigration and you will find plenty of articles detailing the most recent movements and events having to do with immigration, especially for immigration news surrounding the Mexican border.

The fund was possible from a $3.75 million settlement provided to the two founding journalists Michael and Jim. The pair were arrested overnight in their homes by the Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio after posting revealing information about the sheriff’s actions.

What is possibly more shocking is the subpoenas created by the grand jury which demanded information about, not only those involved in the Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media (the online publication also founded by Larkin and Lacey), but demanding the personal information for any readers who happened to be exposed to the information the journalists provided about the sheriff in their articles.

A recent development in the Frontera Fund News would be the story covering a renewed fight to bring back Mexican studies to the classroom. There was a recent point in time that both students and teachers agreed that bringing Mexican cultural studies to Arizona classes would be beneficial in expanding the diversity among students and to bring awareness to non-Mexican students by learning of a new culture.

When news of these types of classes being taught reached the ears of politicians at the Arizona State Capitol, those who were opposed acted almost immediately in eradicating any possibility of bringing Mexican studies to class. Learn more about Jim Larkin:

It’s safe to say that in these particular politician’s views, education should be more generalized and not include any cultural influence, thus barring ethnic students from connecting to their roots and for other students to take any part in learning about a rich history outside their own. Read more: Michael Larcey | Crunchbase

It as back in 2010 that politicians passed an Ethnic Studies Ban in Arizona called SB 2281. This law prohibits any promotion in classes of overthrowing the United State’s government, any promotion for resentment towards a specific class or race of people, anything designed to primarily appeal to pupils within a specific ethnic group, or advocating for ethnic solidarity rather than for the treatment of individual pupils.

What is most concerning is including promoting the overthrowing of the governement within a law that prohibits teaching of a different culture or race of people, as if to say those two things aren’t non-inclusive.

Tom Horne, Diane Douglas, and John Huppenthal each came to the conclusion that Mexican-American Studies (or MAS) was in conflict with this law and should not be allowed to be taught in state funded schools. The Tucson Unified School District was forced to end this program despite the intense protests from many teachers and students who were looking forward to the MAS being implemented as a part of their curriculum.



Lacey and Larkin Continue to Defend the First Amendment

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have always marched to the beat of a different drummer — a very different drummer. As students at Arizona State University in 1970, they created an alternative newspaper, called the Phoenix New Times, to poke fun at the establishment, rouse the rabble, and test the limits of the First Amendment. They immediately dropped out of school to “grow” the newspaper, with Jim Larkin selling ads and Michael Lacey providing the editorial material that went against whatever the conservative establishment was in favor of.

The controversies of the day — the Vietnam War, illegal immigration, draconian sentences for minor, non-violent drug offenses — all seemed tailor-made for Michael Lacey’s editorials. Although nobody was beyond their reach, they reserved their strongest criticism for self-styled “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Maricopa County’s own Joe Arpaio. It was only a matter of time before the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office struck back by arresting the pair on trumped-up charges. They were awarded over $3 million by the Maricopa County government to settle a false arrest lawsuit arising from the incident.

The duo used the money to set up the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund has a funding organization protecting migrant rights. They soon retired from the Phoenix New Times and set a digital alternative called Front Page Confidential. To this day, Front Page Confidential continues to rouse the rabble, poke the establishment, and defend the First Amendment.