In the late 60s, Michael Lacey left Newark, NJ to attend Arizona State University. Coming from the east coast, he was shocked by the ultra-conservative viewpoints of the local media. In response to Arizona’s tilted broadcasts, he and some fellow students created a weekly campus newspaper.
Eventually, the newspaper became more than just a campus favorite. To accommodate the growing business, Jim Larkin joined the team and took over the advertising aspects. The duo co-founded Phoenix New Times and expanded into other subjects. Soon, New Times was considered one of the top alternative newspapers. Eventually, New Times would even take down a crooked sheriff.
In the early 80s, their ambitions grew. They soon started buying other newspaper from all over the country. The first paper they bought was Westword in Denver. They used their expansion as a way to explore other subjects and build up their name. Read more: Jim Larkin | Angel.co and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia
Within a few years, they’d collected 17 like-minded newspapers from California to New York. Some of the bigger names include LA Weekly and Miami New Times. They called this new conglomerate Village Voice Media, which they later sold to some longtime fellow executives. Now, their focus is Phoenix New Times and philanthropy.
Currently, their top philanthropy deals with migrant rights. Over the years, Arizona’s repeatedly abused and assaulted innocent emigrants trying to find peace and happiness in America.
One of the biggest leaders of the anti-Mexican fear-mongering was Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Phoenix New Times focused on Arpaio after realizing that the rest of the local media ignored his actions.
With Larkin and Lacey’s encouragement, New Times published numerous stories about Arpaio’s financial irregularities and mismanagement skills when it came to the sheriff’s office. They also talked about his personal mission to systematically persecute, profile, and detain every Latino he wanted.
There’s no rhyme or reason to Arpaio’s hatred other than racism and bigotry. Arpaio often abused his power to silence his critics, but New Times and its executives refused to back down. Their bravery eventually drove Arpaio to have them arrested.
That arrest led to a prolonged court battle, which ended with them winning a $3.7 million settlement.
Immediately following their settlement, they created the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. The fund gives money to nonprofit groups along the Mexican border that fight for migrant and civil rights.
Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: