Utica, NY (WIBX) - When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, few could have imagined the long-lasting effects it would have for Utica, New York.

Article Fourteen of that document establishes a basic tenet of international law, that defines "refugees" and identifies, for the first time, that all peoples of all nations have a "fundamental right to asylum" when they are fleeing abuses by their own government or when their government may not be able to prevent those abuses.

The assertion by the UN General Assembly was so strong that the document was published with 398 different translations so that those universal rights could be universally understood.

More than sixty years later thousands of those seeking asylum have made their way to Utica.  It is estimated that just under twenty percent of Utica's population consists of refugees.

Because of the part that Utica has played as a host to so many, and in recognition of the continuously-enriched and ever-changing cultural fabric which covers the city, SUNYIT is hosting a series of events that are part of a community project called "Refugees Starting Over in Utica, NY."

The schedule of events on November 30, 2012 includes:

  • "Portraits of Refugee Life in Utica, NY" Gallery Show opening
  • Gannett Gallery Reception 4:30pm - 6:30pm
  • Music and Folk Dancing in Kunsela Hall 6:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Screening of the Utica Firefly documentary "Starting Over" 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Take a look here for an introduction to the documentary: