The heartwarming story behind this artist’s portrait of Hillary Clinton.

You’ll never look at monarch butterflies the same way again.

Monarch butterflies are the only butterflies known to migrate back and forth between Central America and North America. No single butterfly makes a round trip, but over the course of generations, monarchs instinctively know to head north or south.

For that reason, the butterfly has become a symbol of immigrant rights — and it has special meaning to CJ, an artist from DC. As a first-generation American who would travel back and forth between Nicaragua and the United States with her mother, CJ grew up fond of the butterfly.

“Knowing there was something like me, that traveled back-and-forth, that was important,” she says. “There are butterflies in both countries. They’re a beautiful part of nature, and they make the land more fertile, like the immigrants here who pick our food in our fields. It’s something we never talk about, the unsung heroes who work in the fields.”

When CJ was young, her mother would tape paper all over the walls so the budding artist could use the walls as a makeshift canvass. “I have the best mother in the world,” she says.

But CJ also grew up being called to the nurse’s office to help translate for students who didn’t speak English as well, and in some cases for their families. “Siempre,” (always) she says. And that experience helped spark her interest in the immigrant rights movement.

“My mom believed very much in giving back, because when you are part of this community … as Latinas we have to stick together.”

One day, she began drawing a portrait of Hillary Clinton. “I was drawing her face, and I started drawing butterflies. Each of the butterflies in the piece is unique, like each of the immigrants who make up the fabric of American society,” she says. “Hillary is the only candidate who can make our dreams come true.”

CJ’s portrait of Hillary has taken on new significance recently: Only two weeks ago, the Supreme Court dealt a significant blow to the immigrant rights movement when it upheld a lower court’s ruling on President Obama’s actions on immigration. Their split decision ensured that any hope of comprehensive immigration reform now lies with the next president.

“ My heart is really breaking for the 5 million people in this country who have been waiting for the decision and are facing deportation, living with fear every single day.” — Hillary on the Supreme Court’s decision on DAPA

The broken immigration system must be addressed — and Hillary’s committed to introducing comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship within her first 100 days in office.

“The way to get ahead is to love your sister, to bond together and work together to achieving everyone’s dreams in this country,” CJ says.

She’s right.

Originally published at