A few years ago, I made monarch butterfly ornaments. I was the outgoing Board Chair of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, better known as HICA and I wanted to give a small token of my appreciation to my fellow board members.
I was in Michaels looking for some Christmas craft items when I spotted packages of monarch butterflies down one of the aisles. I’ve always been drawn to these butterflies. As an active board member of HICA for many years, I knew that they had become a symbol of the immigrant rights movement. They were very seen at all the marches and events organized during the battle to overturn the HB 56 immigration bill our state passed. I learned this was because of the migratory pattern these beautiful butterflies take from Mexico to Canada and through the United States and then back to Michoacán, Mexico. There is so much more symbolism that goes along with all this but suffice it to say, there are a number of parallels between the immigrant movement and the migratory patterns of these beautiful beings. Something or someone trying to make a life away from their native country…Mexico…that’s all I needed to understand the beauty in all this.
So, that day at Michaels I added a few packages of the butterflies to my basket along with some clear glass ornaments. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew I was going to add these butterflies to the glass ornaments and decorate them for my board. It was really very easy and the end product was beautiful. Folding the butterflies up to insert them into the glass ornament was reminiscent of the butterfly coming out of the chrysalis. I added black and orange polka dot ribbon to the top of each ornament when I was finished.
I intended to make them only for my board, but I had so many that I left them for the staff as well. Everyone seemed to appreciate the sentiment and for me the symbolism is why I did it in the first place. My hope was that everyone who took one would consider it a symbol of what we were working for at HICA…the social, civic and economic integration of immigrants into our community.
I kept several myself and I use them on my Mexican Christmas tree, added to the Mexican tin ornaments and other icons from my Mexican culture.