For the many volunteers helping migrants living at Chicago police stations, raising funds is essential to their work.
One group, known as the Police Station Response Team, teamed up with a Venezuelan migrant to design the logo on merchandise being sold to raise money for food, clothes and medicine for asylum seekers.
The logo is an image of the Chicago flag with a twist. Butterflies replace the stars, and the design is adorned with the words peace, care, opportunity and abundance.
Those are the words graphic designer and asylum seeker Winter Navas uses to describe Chicago.
“This is a city of opportunity,” Navas said in Spanish. “The one who knows how to use that for good will thrive. If you don’t, you’ll get lost.”
Navas currently lives at the shuttered Wadsworth Elementary School — one of the city’s 15 shelters being used to house migrants. He chose a butterfly for his Chicago flag logo to describe a migrant’s journey and growth.
“It’s the only animal or insect that transforms,” Navas said. “It starts off as a caterpillar, into a cocoon, then a butterfly.”
Navas met the Police Station Response Team in July when he was staying outside the 12th District police station.
“They were handing out food, clothes and other materials for us to be able to spend the night there,” Navas recalled.
Navas was a graphic designer in Venezuela for more than 20 years. But when political and economic upheaval hit his country in 2016, he said, it got harder to find a job.
Chicago became a place of refuge.
“Everyone wants to come to Chicago because of that,” Navas said. “They’re more willing to give us shelter and care than other states.”
As Navas awaits asylum, designing merchandise to raise funds has given him a sense of purpose.
“People here (in the shelter) saw my shirt and said, ‘I saw someone else in that shirt. Where did you get it?’ And I tell them I designed it,” Navas said, adding that those interactions fill him with satisfaction. “God put me in the right place at the right time.”
Navas is among the thousands awaiting asylum and authorization to work in Chicago. He hopes to get on his feet within the next three months and start his own graphic design company.
To view the merchandise being sold, click here.