Utica, New York

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A couple of decades ago, Utica, New York, was dying; a popular bumper sticker in the ‘90s read “Last One Out of Utica, Please Turn Out the Lights.” Once a bustling textile city perched on the edge of the Erie Canal, Utica lost its mills in the mid-20th century and has been losing population ever since. But something has changed in recent years. With a surprising influx of refugees to this part of snowy, upstate New York—the newcomers have given Utica hope for second chance. SOTRU looks at the way in which Utica has opened its doors to the world’s needy, and how that’s bringing fresh energy to a city in dire need of it.