Teaming Up for Change: Michael Lacey, Jim Larkin, and Arizona’s ACLU

With the core values of individual liberty, justice, and equality the American Civil Liberties Union of ACLU has been policing Arizona since 1959. In accordance with the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the State of Arizona, the ACLU fiercely defends those they feel have been denied access to their own basic civil liberties.

They represent equality issues facing immigrants, LGBT individuals, and other minorities. They have taken a personal interest in the disenfranchised groups because of the growing problems that seem to plague them. To the ACLU a person’s rights should not be decided by their status within society, they should be extended to all human beings.

From their initial formation, the ACLU of Arizona has been challenging laws and police action for decades. A recent cause in 2007, saw the persecution of the corruption within Joe Arpaio’s police department.

Unfortunately, the Sheriff and his deputies would locate arbitrary reasons to pull people over because of their race. Once they had been pulled over, they would then be interrogated about their legal status within the country.

These patrols were planned as an immigration initiative and displayed practices of blatant racism towards the individuals involved.

When word spread of Arpaio’s leadership, a federal class-action lawsuit was filed. Melendres v. Arpaio found that Arpaio and his deputies had indeed engaged in racism when stopping individuals. To alleviate the behavior, Arpaio was barred from enforcing any type of immigration and assigned a monitor. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin:

Further back in their history, the ACLU of Arizona was also responsible for helping legalize multi-racial marriage in their state.

This ruling had a domino effect within the legal system and became a catalyst for the landmark case that resulted in the Miranda Rights police are required to read before interrogation.

The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund was set up by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin to support an organization like the ACLU of Arizona. The co-founders of the Phoenix New Times had a specific reason for wanting to help those who did not feel like they had a voice. After printing their own story about Arpaio’s department, they were arrested.

The resulting lawsuit ended in a judgment rewarding them a hefty sum that the journalist chose to invest back into the community.

Lacey and Larkin insist that the money from their lawsuit be used for migrant individuals to help give them better representation in society.

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Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
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