Aliento Turns DREAMers’ Dreams into Art
July 20, 2017 — 15:40

By some counts, 65,000 students each year will graduate from high school in the United States, alongside their classmates and peers, but be unable to join in any of the most basic rituals teenagers have in our country. They cannot legally drive, vote, or get a job, restricting their options whether that be to go to college, join the military, or other basic expectations their fellow American students share.

Yet, despite all the focus on what these students cannot do, they have many innate talents, things that they can do. Larkin and Lacey have many gifts, and the DREAM act, despite all its delays, encapsulates their dreams and their gifts. And those gifts are what the community organization called Aliento focuses on. Read more: Michael Larcey | Crunchbase

They use the arts – painting, drawing, sharing – to create a space where the DREAMers can express themselves, their feelings, and the way the world outside impacts them day after day.

Through art, they show who they really are, giving humanity and power to people who are otherwise made powerless by forces beyond their control. Through artwork, they empower the DREAMer generation, the thousands of kids who have so much to give back to the country they grew up in and love.

Aliento also takes that inner passion and artwork and brings it forward into the community. Their workshops and political gatherings are meant to raise awareness of another way for people to live, in harmony, not in strife, bickering, and fear. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2014/12/16/proceeds-arpaio-suit-fund-asu-journalism-chair/20480479/

The art they create speaks to the common humanity in everyone, both those who are born in the US with full citizenship, and those whose parents brought them here in the desperate hope for a better life.

The Aliento organization relies on donations in order to provide its free workshops for DREAMer youth in Arizona. Donations cover the cost of materials, including paper, art supplies, and creating a safe space for the children to attend the community events. One of the organizations that helps out is the Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund, created by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are two journalists who were investigating Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio when they were arrested, thrown into jail, and questioned on the demands of the Sheriff, who was angered by a piece they had written for the Phoenix New Times about his misdeeds fostering anti-Mexican sentiment in Phoenix Arizona.

The reporting dug into allegations of financial and management irregularities in the Sheriff’s office, and the two were issued Grand Jury Subpoenas for the newspaper’s writers, editors and readers.

The arrest ended in less than 24 hours after a national outcry and sparked a legal battle over first amendment rights between Larkin and Lacey and Arpaio. They received a 3.7 million dollar settlement, and decided to create a fund where their work supporting the Arizona immigrant community could continue.

The money is donated to many organizations in Arizona and the Southwest that promote the cultural, educational, political and legal rights of immigrants and other marginalized communities.