Bringing the butterflies home - Salish Current
June 19, 2024
Bringing the butterflies home
Kira Munson

Kira Munson from C2C’s civic engagement team collected butterflies from Ponderosa Beer and Books in preparation for the origami installation to be taken to a new host. (C2C)

June 19, 2024
Bringing the butterflies home
Kira Munson

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Commentary: Preserving the symbol of those who have migrated here and enrich our community

Two years after the launch of the Migration Makes Us Stronger butterfly campaign, the remaining origami butterflies out in the community will be coming home to roost.

On Aug. 5, 2022, Community to Community (C2C), in solidarity with a number of partner organizations, immigrant community members and their families, gifted 10,000 origami butterflies to the City of Bellingham to lift up the voices and lives of the immigrants who make our community more vibrant and rich together. 

A Migration Makes us Stronger event in 2022 featured a gift of 10,000 origami butterflies to the City of Bellingham. Two years later, the butterflies are leaving City Hall and finding new homes with local businesses and community and faith organizations. (C. Edgar Franks)

And when the mayor’s office asked to have the gift removed, those butterflies were given a home by local businesses, community organizations and faith organizations. We want to especially thank our friends at Aslan Brewery, Ponderosa Beer and Books and Northwest Yarns, who have hosted butterflies continuously since the campaign began. We depend on one another for support and it will take all of us working together to realize our vision for a future where everyone gets to thrive and live full, vibrant lives.

In February of 2024, despite dozens of letters of support from the community for the continued work of the Immigration Advisory Board, the Bellingham city council approved an ordinance suspending the IAB indefinitely. Today, that suspension continues to represent a barrier to full and just representation and has stalled progress toward a necessary city-funded Immigrant Resource Center. Immigrants continue to live and work in Bellingham and Whatcom County and every day have to face unmet needs, despite the taxes we contribute to the local economy. 

The striking beauty of the butterflies has faded into the background as immigration issues continue to evolve locally and on a national level. While federal politicians use immigrants as pawns in political posturing over policy that affects our real lives, the beauty of migration remains vital to our community.

To preserve the physical art, we are choosing to collect the butterflies so that we might preserve them and one day bring them back to remind everyone who lives in the city of Bellingham that migration is beautiful, that we are all connected and that migration makes us stronger.

— By Kira Munson

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