Imagine you are a refugee from sudan.

after 6 years in an ethiopian camp, you arrive in cold upstate ny.

You know no one here.

is a documentary that follows the Azein family from their arrival in the US in 2017, just as an administration hostile to refugees is sworn in.

Over 2.5 years they will transition from isolation to being part of a larger, thriving community.

A resurgence

Following our story, we also bear witness to Utica, a rebounding rustbelt city, and the resettlement agency determined to make America a new home for refugees.

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THE issue

Joe Biden has promised to reestablish the refugee resettlement program in the U.S. Doing so will require a lot of political will because the system is nearly broken. Now is the time to push for his ambitious numbers.

Stories

You could argue in a city Utica's size, that individuals matter more. The smaller the town, the more likely it is that people know each other, and know each other's stories. In Utica, they do. Local politicians from both parties share an impression of what made Utica successful in its heyday, and how it will return to some semblance of that time. A long standing community of immigrants, Uticans of all strata have united around refugee resettlement. As such, there is a commonality in the stories we've gotten from refugees, from community leaders, and from the personnel at The Center. Everyone wants to rebuild Utica, to attract companies to the area, to create jobs, and prosperity. Utica's diversity, they say, is key to getting there.

Ebrima Bakarr

Thet Thet Mar

Shelly Callahan

Mayor Robert Palmieri

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refugee storiesstaff center storiesutican stories

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