Seemingly everyday now, the top news headline has something to do with injustice happening in the United States. One of the main hotspots for injustices in America is at the boarder with Mexico; in the southern United States in states like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Just recently President Trump used his first presidential pardon on Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the controversial sheriff in Maricopa County in Arizona.
A decade ago a couple of Arpaio’s controversial detainees, two journalists Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin, were arrested after they covered a story where the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office issued subpoenas for the Phoenix News Times writers, editors, and readers personal information including web browser history and IP addresses.
After having their charges dropped against them, and having their suing of Arpaio and the Maricopa County settled in court, Lacey and Larkin have been hard at work, creating and supporting organizations that try to help those advocating for civil, human, and migrant rights.
Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin have created the Larkin & Lacey Frontera Foundation and one of those groups they support is the Colibri Center for Human Rights. The Colibri Center has three main projects they work on: The Missing Migrant Project, DNA Program, and Red de Familiares.
The Missing Migrant Project has been a founding program of the Colibri Center since 2006, and is a vital part of the fight for migrant rights. The project identifies the remains of migrant workers who have died in America, and tries to reconnect the deceased with their family.
This has been the keystone project of the Colibri Center and has helped hundred of families reconnect with their loved ones who were trying to make a living in the United States. Since 1998, 6,915 men, women, and children have lost their lives trying to cross the boarder into the United States, with over 2,700 dying in the state of Arizona alone from the years 2001-2016.
Across the region, in county medical examiners offices, many unidentified remains are still waiting their final resting spot, and it is through the efforts of the Missing Migrant Project that families can find out what actually happened to their loved ones.
On record are over 2,400 records of migrant workers that have been reported missing by family members and it’s the job of the Colibri Center to find them. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/
The other two projects, the DNA Program and the Red de Familiares also help with identifying remains of undocumented citizens in the Arizona area. The DNA Program travels to different cities every year to take DNA samples of relatives of missing migrants to try and solve their cases.
Red de Familiares (translates to: Family Network) is a support group network for those who have lost loved ones trying to cross the boarder. This network helps the Colibri Center evolve with the changing needs of the families at risk.