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  • Aug 13, 2019

Spreading wings

CHA shows solidarity with immigrants and promotes butterfly symbol.

By Ingrid Gámez, CMI-Spanish, Supervisor, Multicultural Affairs and Patient Services.

Proposed policy changes and restrictions on immigrants are dominating headlines, sparking fear and spurring national debate. CHA welcomes all patients regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status. We fiercely live our motto, "We Care for All," while also recognizing the challenges facing immigrant populations. Our staff and providers model inclusive behavior each day through the culturally competent care they provide and with meaningful actions that create a welcoming environment.

Starting in 2017, staff in CHA's Department of Multicultural Affairs and Patient Services began distributing small butterfly pins to employees. Immigrant rights advocates view butterflies as the embodiment of the dignity, courage and resilience of migrants and the right that all living beings have to move freely like a butterfly.

To date, more than 900 pins have been distributed across CHA's service areas in Cambridge, Somerville, Everett, Revere and Malden. Staff proudly display these pins and show our patients, visitors, and community partners that CHA is an inclusive place for everyone. "We must stand together and treat everyone with dignity and provide all with the quality health care they deserve," said Christian Lanphere, CHA Safety Officer and Emergency Management Director.

The butterfly is proof that when something is falling apart it can emerge and morph into something beautiful. It's also fragile and colorful, like my older sister Evelyn. Evelyn was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, kabuki syndrome, severe scoliosis and seizure disorder. She had her first seizure when she was just six months old. Our mother traveled back and forth to the United States with Evelyn in order to find her proper treatment for more than 10 years.

Finally, we moved to the United States, from Honduras, in 2002 when I was 16 and Evelyn was 18. My father worked hard to support my mother, sister and two brothers ensuring that we got a great education. Arriving in a new country was a struggle as we all learned a new language and culture together. Thankfully, Evelyn was able to have critical spine surgery, medication and therapy.

As an immigrant, my parents taught me that the most important thing in life is family. When my older sister needed better health care, we left everything we knew behind and came to the United States. Evelyn was our butterfly and she spurred me and my family to come here to lead a better life.

Today, I am a medical interpreter at CHA and I chose this career path in order to give others a voice in health care, as I did for my sister and mother during medical appointments. Evelyn inspires me each day and the butterfly symbolizes the story of my family and so many others. Symbols provide hopeThe butterfly can transform hearts and help people spread their wings.

This articles provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider.

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