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 had an AMAZING trip to Washington DC! Nearly 40 activists – including 15 youth – walked the halls of the Senate and House office buildings delivering butterflies. The kids also participated in a press conference led by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, met with Senators and Representatives in person, and helped amplify the voices of children in detention. We’ll post more photos soon, but feel free to check out our social media pages for pictures!


  • Create butterfly displays in your community.
  • Hang a kaleidoscope (a string of butterflies) on your door!
  • Take a picture of your kaleidoscope and post to FB or Instagram using the tag @butterflyeffectmigration, or tweet it and tag @effectmigration
  • Send butterflies you make to your local elected officials along with a note reminding them of migrant children in detention and asking them what they are doing to stand up for kids in detention.

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, and to display butterflies in public spaces 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!

We are asking communities to make butterflies and put up displays in your community. Check out our website for resources, tips on setting it up, and 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

We are also asking you to deliver your butterflies to local elected officials to let them know that you care about the kids in detention and to encourage them to act.


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!


Get in Touch

The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful

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Progress towards our goal: