Throughout the week of April 16, the writing students from Dr. Shelley DeBlasis’ ENGL 211 section 1 at New Mexico State University-Carlsbad will hold butterfly-making workshops open to all campus and community members.
The students have a goal of making 500 handmade butterflies, which they will provide to the Houston Holocaust Museum’s Butterfly Project. The project seeks to collect 1.5 million handmade butterflies – one butterfly for each Jewish child killed in Nazi concentration camps.
“At the beginning of the semester, each student selected one genocidal event to examine the relationship among persuasive language, research and writing,” DeBlasis said. “The students were then tasked with selecting a single class outreach program to create awareness of genocide.”
The class voted on different project proposals, and student Amanda Snider’s idea was selected. The project will coincide with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s “Days of Remembrance” event.
“We’re offering the craft materials for members of the community to join our effort in commemorating the lives lost during the Holocaust,” DeBlasis said, noting that guests to Carlsbad’s butterfly workshops will also be able to view poems and images from the children. Music from cultures that have experienced genocide will be played at the event.
Workshops will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and from 10-11:15 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday in Room 101. Butterflies can be made out of any material except glitter and food items.
DeBlasis said one of her students works in a nursing home and another works at a local daycare and both plan to recruit help at the workplace.
Members of the Carlsbad community have donated supplies, and local attorney Jeff Diamond and his wife, Evy, made a contribution to the NMSU-C project.
“We’re going to use the money to buy some of our supplies and to make sure our butterflies get to the museum,” DeBlasis said. “In addition, we will be able to purchase a Holocaust curriculum I will use in the fall, which will also be open to the other instructors here.”
Diamond serves as chair of the New Mexico Antidefamation League Board of Directors. He also currently serves on the ADL’s national commission and attends national conferences in that capacity. Earlier this spring, Diamond sponsored a museum exhibit on Jewish pioneers in New Mexico, which went on display in Carlsbad and Hobbs.
“The Butterfly Project is a beautiful, touching tribute to the 1.5 million Jewish children killed during the Holocaust,” Diamond said. “I’m extremely proud of the college students of my hometown of Carlsbad for deciding to help with this project, and I’m only too happy to help in this small way.”