The Frontera fund was started by a group of journalist who are also the founders of the Phoenix news time. They had witnessed firsthand the racial profiling tendencies by Sheriff Joe Arpaio the then sheriff of Maricopa County.
His action has been very worrying and he ha made his personal mission to ensure the life of Hispanics was never equal to that of other American citizens. He targeted them and made arbitrary arrest detaining those arrested for long periods of times and in most cases in holding jails that did not meet the humane conditions established under law. Learn more about Lacey and Larkin: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/new-times-founders-helping-fund-latino-program-at-asu-journalism-school-6661821
These conditions had led to the death of various inmates under his watch and the county together with the sheriff would always find ways of explaining to them as if they were not directly related to each other.
The country media did not have as much access or draw to the sheriff and his actions and it was thus the actions of the local media especially Jim Larkin and Micheal lacey who founded the Village Voice Media and Phoenix New Times that really brought to the forefront the events that were taking place in Maricopa.
The reporting by the duo and the media houses that they run did not sit well with the sheriff and his office as he viewed himself as a cut above the rest. He would continuously harass the duo and escalated when he arrested them in the middle of the night based on made up charges detaining in separate cells waiting to charge them.
The outcry from the public due to his actions was so intense that he was forced to release them as well as drop all the charges that he had brought up against them.
Michael and Jim knowing that their rights had been grossly violated sued the county and the ninth circuit court of appeals concluded that in fact they had been arrested for no substantial reason and that indeed their first amendment rights had been grossly violated.
The county offered to settle to the tune of 3.75 million dollars this money was immediately dedicated to starting a fund that would later become to be known as the Frontera fund. This is one of the most vocal advocates of the rights of Hispanics across the country and it continues to help many with their legal issues.
It has also been very instrumental in fighting for better immigration laws and policies especially in regard to the Hispanic community. It works in border regions and today has made very strong strides in this direction.
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