No one is above the law, even those that enforce it. Laws act as guidelines on how to treat one another, how to settle our disputes, and how to punish wrong doers. It is ironic when the ones the public trusts to uphold the laws lead in breaking them.
Precedence should be set for fighting those in power if and when they abuse it to protect civil and human rights lest the whole public gradually becomes the silently oppressed. Already, two journalists from Maricopa County, Arizona had to make the decision to challenge an errant law enforcer for the benefit of civil and human rights.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, journalists and the co-founders of Village Voice Media, Phoenix Times and the Frontera Fund, had the first-hand experience of fighting for the civil rights of some minority groups. The Frontera Fund was set up to fight for the equal and fair treatment of immigrants and the Hispanic community.
The fund begun after Lacey and Larkin won 3.75 million in damages after a five-year-court case against former sheriff Joe Arpaio who was found guilty of contempt. In his tenure as the elected county sheriff, Joe Arpaio was accused of:
– Racially profiling Hispanics
– Misappropriation of funds
– Unlawful enforcement of immigration laws
– Election law violations.
– Abuse of power
Immigrants bear the brunt of abuse in regards to civil rights. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 83 percent of the forty million immigrants in the United States get deported with a vast majority not undergoing the due process. Read more: Michael Larcey | Crunchbase and Phoenix New Time
Civil and human rights activists groups aim to publicize policies that allow authorities to mistreat immigrants to a spark public outcry and calls for reforms.
Many advocates for human rights are organizations that are not affiliated with the government. These Non-Governmental Organizations monitor governments and exert pressure on them to act with regards to the human rights of their citizens.
More often than not, the advocates for civil rights are citizens as opposed to government officials. People must be vigilant to ensure that their civil liberties are not infringed upon by rogue governments or individuals.
Human and Civil Rights groups often support one another for an increased impact on the communities they are working in. The Frontera Fund has already supported various organizations that seek to protect human rights.
One of the supported organizations is the Arizona Justice Project whose mission is “represent indigent Arizona inmates whose claims of innocence or manifest injustice have gone unheeded.” Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/5-smart-ways-people-and-places-are-resisting-trumps-immigration-policies/
It is important to note that during Joe Arpaio’s tenure, more than 60 inmates died of easily treatable illnesses. The Arizona Justice Project seeks to help the wrongfully convicted, those given excessive punishments and inmates who are not receiving adequate treatment.
It is largely a community project that works in collaboration with some pro-bono lawyers, Arizona law schools and investigators.
The Frontera Fund has also partnered with organizations such as:
– American Immigration Council
– Center for Neighborhood Leadership
– American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona
Efforts such as these should be encouraged in the fight for civil liberties and inclusion of minority communities.