More than 20 years ago, a group of teachers created a curriculum to teach their students about the atrocities of the Holocaust by making handmade butterflies to represent the 1.5 million children who perished at the hands of the Nazis. Over time, the Holocaust Museum Houston collected 1.5 million of these butterflies and started the Butterfly Project. Sent from Houston across the world and back again and again, the butterflies serve as a powerful reminder about the sheer enormity of the Holocaust and what was lost.
Recently, the Museum launched a local exhibit to showcase the butterflies. Beyond the physical display of beauty and wonder at the exhibits, The Butterfly Project has taken flight online. The project's mission is to start a global conversation that challenges us all to find connection through hope—standing up and taking action against hate together.
The Butterfly Project aims to inspire people to use hope as a vehicle for social change, using the lessons learned from the Holocaust. Through social outreach, grassroots advocacy and personal connection, the Project is a lens through which to view the future using the past as a guide. The Butterfly Project illustrates how our small actions today can become something so much bigger. It shows how individual action can change people’s hearts and, with that, the future.
#StandWithHope is a commitment to individual action to create lasting impact. It’s a way for people to say what how they will stand for a better future. It’s also a way to connect the great work done by other movements by amplifying them through the lens of hope. When we come together and declare how we will stand to change the future, we’re on the front lines of an uphill battle. It’s not easy, it’s not simple and it’s not going to be comfortable, but it is so, so worth it.
We live in a time of upheaval. Of careless words and destructive actions. The noise of negativity is deafening, causing people to turn away from each other and disengage from the collective dialogue needed to solve the world’s problems. We are closer today than ever, thanks to the rise of social networking and ever-growing ways to connect with others regardless of geographic location. Yet, we are also further apart. Cyberbullying, trolls, open letters shaming others and open letters shaming the shamed—the internet has given people a way to both express themselves and to create new factions of “us” vs. “them.” Negativity makes a lot more noise than positivity. The gap between us is more apparent than the bridge that connects us.
Now, more than ever, we need hope. The Butterfly Project seeks to disrupt this negativity. Using hope as the flashpoint, the Project will create global conversation about what it means to be human and how we can use our common humanity to build a better world.
Join us in spreading the message that Hope > Hate. Because Hope is a display of nonviolent resistance. It is the idea that the world we live in is worth saving. Hope is a protest. It’s a statement. To have hope means you’re not taking things lying down. It shows that you’re not falling for the trap that those who would divide us have set up—that “they” are different than “us.”
That is what it means to #StandWithHope. Tell us how you will.