A Nation of Givers

America has long been a nation of givers, where those well-off lend a hand to help the less fortunate.

Two such individuals are Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. Founders of Arizona newspapers the Phoenix New Times and the Village Voice Media, they sought to protect the rights of migrants by exposing discrimination under color of law by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies.

On the night of October 18, 2007, Jim and Lacey were arrested and jailed on warrants seeking their notes and the sources they used in their investigations about the Sheriff. They later sued and could have used the multi-million dollar settlement to enrich themselves.

Instead, they donated it to the journalism school at the University of Arizona and to the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund — an organization supporting migrant rights groups in Arizona.

Throughout American, people are at work in organizations that support and promote the rights of the most vulnerable. These volunteers donate their time and energy to maintain long-established American values. They include organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The ACLU was established in 1920 by Roger Baldwin with the motto: “So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we’ll be called a democracy.” Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2014/12/16/proceeds-arpaio-suit-fund-asu-journalism-chair/20480479/

Baldwin, Crystal Eastman, and Albert DeSilver formed the ACLU in a time when the word of the day was “conformity.” Anti-war activists suffered in jail cells for the crime of opposing war. People of color were pressed into chain gangs for offenses like impecuniosity, vagrancy, loitering, littering, and disturbing the peace by talking loudly.

The ACLU was founded to expand the protection of the Bill of Rights to those denied its protections. The groups most unpopular, such as the Klan and the Neo-Nazis, are also the ones most likely to be oppressed by the government. Once the government can violate the rights of one group, it can extend its reach to others. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase

From a humble beginning of a small handful of individuals, the ACLU has grown to over a million supporters spread across the country. Only the Department of Justice has argued more cases before the Supreme Court. The ACLU tackles the most complex civil liberties issues in order to protect all Americans from government abuse.