Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful Project

Check out this video – our youth leaders will tell you all about the Butterfly Effect!

Big News this Week!

We are THRILLED to welcome partners MomsRising/MamásConPoder!! Thank you for supporting and amplifying the Butterfly Effect!

Join our for a Youth Led Rally on 11/16 3-4 pm at Lake Merritt Amphitheater, Oakland:

Please join us for at Lake Merritt Amphitheater on Saturday, November 16th, from 3-4 pm for a  youth led rally to stand in solidarity with migrant children in detention. Please plan to attend and bring your butterflies! Check out our Facebook event for additional details!

We’ll be in Washington DC on Universal Day of the Child, November 20th, 2019

With Senator Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) office, we are going to be hosting a display of 15,000 butterflies in the Russell Senate Building Rotunda in Washington DC from 11/18-22!

We will be meeting with members of Congress and staffers to hand out butterflies and stand up for the kids in detention.

If you can help support this trip, please consider making a donation!

Butterflies going to kids in the ORR Facilities

After we take down the butterflies from the Rotunda, we will be delivering them to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), and they will be sent out to ORR shelters where the children will see them.

What is the Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful Project?

The butterfly effect is the idea that a small change can lead to a much bigger change.

Watch our KTVU News piece here!

The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful project is an art and activism project led by youth in the Bay Area. We are leading a movement to create a visual representation that will raise awareness about the 15,000 immigrant children who have been and are currently in US detention and to inspire our community to take action to end child detention permanently.

We are working with our community to make butterflies out of recycled and upcycled materials. Butterflies will be displayed on strings hanging from old bike wheels, and displayed in public institutions including libraries, hospitals, schools, and city halls to raise awareness of children in detention.

We have exceeded our goal of making 15,000 butterflies!!!

We have decided that we will keep making butterflies until the children in detention are free. 


Join the movement by making butterflies!

Kids across the WORLD are making butterflies – from Zimbabwe to California, and from Brazil to Oregon! If you live outside the Bay Area and want to participate, we would love to partner with you – just send us an email!

You can make butterflies and display them in your own community, or you can send them to us.

If you want to create your own display we can share resources, tips on setting it up, and we’ll provide you with a sign that you can display with the wheel explaining the project.

Make sure to send us photos of your butterflies on display so we can add you to the map!

Please also post your photos to Instagram and tag us! #butterflyeffectmigration


Why are we doing this?

We are doing this art project because we are trying to get people to realize just how many children are being held in the detention centers. We chose butterflies because they symbolize that migration is beautiful, and because they are all different and beautiful in their own way, just like people. Every kid matters, and we kids in the Bay Area want the kids in detention centers to know that we care about each one of them. Butterflies also symbolize freedom, and we imagine a day when all kids are free and with their families.


Need ideas on how to make butterflies?


Public Displays

We are seeking more public spaces in which to display the butterfly wheels. If you would like to learn more, please email us at butterflyeffectmigration@gmail.com


Learn more, then do more…

“I don’t think the question really is, ‘What should we be doing to provide better care in detention?’ It should be, ‘Why are we detaining kids in the first place?”

–Dr. Julie Linton, Pediatrician

Learn more about what’s happening with kids in detention centers, and find other ways you can help.


Thank you to our partners & supporters!!

Our key partners are the Alphabet Rockers, Amnesty International, Destiny Arts Center, The Center for Cultural Power (formerly CultureStrike) MomsRising/MamásConPoder, and Tsuru for Solidarity. The line “migration is beautiful” comes from the Center for Cultural Power. We are grateful to Favianna Rodriguez for letting us use her beautiful art!

Need some inspiration?
Listen to our amazing theme song, “Until You’re Free” by the Alphabet Rockers!


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Progress towards our goal: