In the mid to late 2000s, it sucked to be a Hispanic/Latino living in Maricopa County, Arizona. The reason why it sucked to live and be of that background is because of the fact that Hispanics/Latinos were being specifically targeted by law enforcement.
There was a lot of suspicion that whoever had Hispanic/Latino features was “illegal.” The local Sheriff of the county, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, spearheaded a policy to stereotype and profile such people as possible “illegal aliens.” There was a lot of needless detainment of people with that background.
Maricopa County is only a stone’s throw away from the Mexican border. There is some desert-land between Maricopa County and Mexico. Maricopa County is not just some ramshackle, middle of nowhere county. The city of Phoenix, Arizona, is located in this county.
Sheriff Arpaio is surprisingly old. At eighty-five years old, some people his age are in nursing homes, are demented or are extremely frail. He is none of those things, though, as far as anyone knows. Sheriff Arpaio is as tough as a piece of leather. Perhaps there really is some truth to what he called himself–”America’s Toughest Sheriff.” Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/
When he screwed with Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, he screwed with the wrong people. Jim and Michael took the injustice of being wrongfully arrested to court. Three-point seven million dollars ended up in their pockets. They did not spend the money on any vain ventures, though; they established an organization to help the people who were targeted by Sheriff Arpaio.
Their organization helps people by helping organizations that help the demographic of people targetted by Sheriff Arpaio. Some of these organizations include: Phoenix Immigrant Justice Project, Fundacion Mexico, Owl and Panther/Hopi Foundation, GED2DACA, Can The Border Divide Us?, Trans Queer Pueblo, Si Se Puede Foundation, Center For Neighborhood Leadership, Arizona DREAM Act Coalition and Kino Border Initiative. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
Many of these organizations tend to the most delicate and immediate needs of immigrants at the lowest grass roots level. For example, some of these organizations usher immigrants into the United States and provide for their physical survival.
The desert is an unforgiving place, and it is quite common for people to fall victim to hunger and thirst. Grassroots organizations partake in humanitarian work by giving food, water and places to stay to undocumented immigrants who have just weathered the desert.
Lacey and Larkin also educate the public through their organization’s website, as well as their online publication, The Phoenix New Times.