Martha Aguila

Postcard for Martha Aguila

I support the immigrant community.”

We are like the caterpillar, transforming.

As members of this society we are encouraged to think about our lives in a linear way consisting of different stages. The butterfly has a deep relation to this concept because of the transformations we undergo. However, our life journeys are not linear but undulating. That is why the caterpillar wiggles in the way it does. It does not move in a straight line, but allows its body to move freely to meet its necessities. Curiously enough, our lives transform like the movement of the caterpillar.

You see, our lives consist of ups and downs, and these movements are partially inspired by our necessities. We share that in common with the caterpillar and most other creatures. It is in this way that we begin our path of transformation.  Many of us wiggle around and try to ignore the ups and downs of this inevitable movement, and in the process denying our own ability to transform. Do you think the caterpillar knows that it has transformed into a butterfly? Do you think a person knows when she/he has transformed? Can we recognize the transformation before it happens? During? After?

Transformation: it is inevitable because it is innate. We experience transformations in small and large feats and sometimes lack the understanding to recognize the change. For example, when my mom passed away in September 2011, it was hard for me to understand the significance of her departure. Life did not seem to stop and care, as life always surprises us (even if we are not willing to accept it). My life has had extreme ups and downs and it took me a while to understand that.

A year after, I began to reflect on my mom’s movements as I analyzed her life journey and transformation. She was an immigrant. She came here during a time when amnesty was possible. She came to the United States to be with her brother. She did not know that she would one day meet me and that I would love her as my mother. However, it was her life of ups and downs like the caterpillar, which shaped the path to my existence. Her transformation was in her migration, but also in the choices she made. Her ultimate transformation came thanks to a life that she experienced full of good times and bad. She always taught me to be strong. She taught me to be firm and decisive, to prepare for the undulating movements of life that will lead to that final delicate transformation.

The Butterfly postcard campaign was developed by the UIC Latino Cultural Center in collaboration with student organizations Fearless Undocumented Alliance and Heritage Garden Student Group that highlights the parallels between the migration of people and Monarch butterflies across national borders.

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Share a story about Migration & Transformation...

How does it feel when you’ve moved from the neighborhood that was familiar to you or the country where you grew up? What were some of the challenges that you confronted in this new place? What or who helped you adapt to this new place?
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You can also pick up a postcard at the UIC Latino Cultural Center and mail it to someone that can help improve the lives of immigrants.