The Frontera Fund was created by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. Both men serve as executives at Phoenix New Times, a local newspaper. They founded the company in the early 70s after dropping out of Arizona State University. Together, they formed the perfect duo; Lacey served as the executive editor and Larkin oversaw advertising.
Their paper served as a stance against the ultra-conservative mindset of most Arizonan natives at that time. Even today, many people in Arizona still have an ultra-conservative mindset, which makes newspapers like Phoenix New Times ever-important. So, in a way, Lacey and Larkin have fought for freedom of speech and those who are helpless since the early 70s.
They’ve always been supporters of local advocate groups. In 2013, they were awarded a $3.75 million settlement from a lawsuit against Maricopa County. They used that money to create the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.
Professionally, they try to maintain a level of unbiased storytelling, but in Arizona, it’s difficult not to take sides. The abuse towards Mexican migrants in that state is outrageous. Lacey and Larkin created the fund to support Arizona-based activist groups that fight for civil, human, and migrant rights.
Fighting for any right along the “la linea fronteriza” (the Mexican border) is incredibly hard. The cities along the border are not the friendliest toward Hispanic emigrants. In the case of Arizona, there are a lot of people who agree with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a known anti-Mexican fear-monger and all around horrible sheriff. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/relevant-links/
In fact, most mainstream newspapers dismissed or ignored his rampant mismanagement skills and other shady activities. There are countless reports and evidence that proves that Arpaio mistreated jail inmates, which led to the deaths of some, and he repeatedly harassed and persecuting Latinos. It even seemed like he took personal enjoyment in abusing his power.
Of course, Sheriff Arpaio did not approve of Phoenix New Times writing these stories about him. In fact, it enraged him to a point that he decided to do the unthinkable. In October 2007, he secretly sent armed deputies to arrest Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.
While that doesn’t sound that bad, the arrests were more like gang-related kidnappings. The arrests occurred in the middle of the night. Both men were forced into unmarked vehicles with Mexican license plates. Then, they were taken to separate jails where Arpaio used fake subpoenas to justify his assault.