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Larkin and Lacey: Challenging Racism

A sad fact of life: hatred will always exist. As long as people have free will, some people will choose to hate others for whatever reason. The important thing is that there’s always someone to stand against the hate. There need to be more people speaking words of love and peace than words of hate and war.

Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are men of peace; more accurately, men of justice. Obviously, they don’t speak words of hate, but they’re more known for challenging negative stereotypes and fear-mongering. They teamed up in the early 70s after Lacey and some other Arizona State co-eds started a weekly campus paper.

By the early 80s, their little campus newspaper became a regional success. Many locals found it refreshing to have media coverage of events that wasn’t tilted to one side. In ’83, they decided to expand and bring in more newspapers.

They first purchased Westword, a news-and-arts paper in Denver. They eventually purchased big-name papers like LA Weekly, Miami New Times, and Village Voice. Their new multimillion-dollar media conglomerate became their main focus. Over the decades, Village Voice Media won hundreds of honors and awards. It also attracted over 60 million monthly readers; both in print and online. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund

While the success of their newspapers is impressive, that’s not what they’re most recognized for. Almost ten years ago, they were arrested by a crooked sheriff, who was angered by their investigative reporting. For months, they’d targeted Sheriff Joe Arpaio because of his unlawful and atrocious behavior.

The most shocking thing he did, on a regular occurrence, was play a role in anti-Mexican rallies. He’s the sheriff of a county along the Mexican border, participating as a fear-monger toward local citizens and innocent migrants seeking a better life.

Both Lacey and Larkin were raised to help those in need, and Sheriff Arpaio’s action offended them deeply.

Eventually, it all ended for Sheriff Arpaio. After wrongfully arresting Larkin and Lacey, the duo sued Maricopa County. They won a $3.7 million settlement in 2013, which they used to create the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.

These events came to light just before the midterm elections, so politicians on both sides used that to their advantage. While they were focused on publicity, the duo’s fund supported several worthy nonprofits that fight for Hispanic causes.

Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin:

https://about.me/jim_larkin
https://www.facebook.com/jimlarkin53

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