Butterfly Lab For Immigrant Narrative Strategy

Race Forward’s Butterfly Lab was launched in 2020 to build power for effective narratives that honor the humanity of migrants, refugees, and immigrants, and advance freedom and justice for all.

Why The Lab?

Stylized monarch butterfly with faces in the wing on a background of radiating orange and yellow stripes. Text: migration is beautiful

Favianna Rodriguez

Anti-immigrant forces have been winning the narrative battle. These narratives bolster a government administration whose policies emotionally, economically, and physically terrorize migrants, refugees, and immigrants. We believe a majority of Americans support continued immigration and protections for immigrants, and have been shocked by images of jailed children and spectacles of hate violence. And we believe that by advancing narratives that connect Americans back to their core beliefs and values, we can compel them to act and confront attacks on migrants, refugees, and immigrants, support humane and transformative action, and foster a pro-immigrant culture. Our Lab is named after Favianna Rodriguez's butterfly image which inspires us and reminds us that migration is beautiful.

Our Work

The work within the Butterfly Lab consists of 2 Phases.

In Phase 1, we brought together a cohort of 16 immigrant narrative leaders who developed, tested, and scaled immigration narratives that met our political moment and advanced the vision for the world we want to build.

Learn more about our Phase 1 work.
Read our Report from Phase 1.
See Race Forward’s original announcement of the Butterfly Lab.

In Phase 2, we are sharing our learnings and providing training and webinars in narrative strategy and design to anyone who wants to advance pro-immigrant narratives. We are building a community of narrative practitioners and conducting narrative research for the immigrant movement.

We also launched the Chrysalis Lab, the Butterfly Lab’s grant program. Through the Chrysalis Lab, four grantees received $80,000 each to test pro-immigrant narratives at scale, supported by coaching and technical assistance.

Learn more about the Chrysalis Lab.

We also commissioned research with the Opportunity Agenda and Worthy Strategy Group on a research study to uncover narrative opportunities for significantly expanding public support and investment in a pro-immigrant future. 

Learn more about our research.

Our Report and Toolkit

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