We’ve got 900 butterflies in our windows — here’s why

900 butterflies made out of paper, ribbon, and pipe cleaners currently grace the windows of 826 Valencia’s three locations. Each butterfly, as well as the 14,100 others in windows across the Bay Area, represent the 15,000 children currently held in American border detention centers.

Butterfly Effect Migration, a project by youth activists, created this installation to raise awareness of children currently being held in detention centers at America’s border with Mexico. In the words of the organizers, “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.”


15,000 is a large number. It can be hard to visualize. We invite you to visit the installation in each of our three centers and see for yourself what this many butterflies looks like. They represent just 1/50th of the total number of children being held.


We at 826 Valencia envision a world where everyone’s voice is heard. We’re proud to amplify the voices of youth activists through hosting this project, and to help raise awareness of what’s happening at our border.