Aerial view of the city of Buffalo.

Transforming Cities

AAPI immigrants resetting throughout New York are transforming cities into bustling economic and multicultural hubs.
Their Stories

 AAPI immigrants resetting throughout New York are transforming cities such as Utica and Buffalo into bustling economic and multicultural hubs. They have increased populations, turned abandoned buildings into businesses, and boosted local economies. 

One voice from Burma recounted how refugees brought new life to cities when they arrived and built communities that have become integral to New York State. 

Poster for "Utica The Last Refuge" documentary.

Loch Phillipps’ documentary Utica: The Last Refuge follows families of refugees to explore how Utica, New York has become a national model for refugee resettlement in the United States.


“... many businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores, beauty salons, laundromats, etc., are run by AAPI communities especially people from Burma/Myanmar. Buffalo’s population was at shrinking points for many decades but now is flooding in with refugees and immigrants." – Steven Sanyu, President of Burmese Community Services in Buffalo, NY

“I am originally from Burma. I came to Buffalo, NY in 2007...

Our Population has enriched NYS in so many ways with blooming small businesses and vibrant cultural events occurring every year. There are Karen communities all over NYS including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca, Utica and Albany who has contributed to the growing economy of NY State.” – Faustina Palmatier, Executive Director, Karen Society of Buffalo

“Mass immigration of Koreans coming into New York came in waves —and many who immigrated provided labor to the trades... You can see the vibrancy of Korean culture in K-Town in NYC…you’re able to witness the cultural impact of Korean media, with shows, films, and music.” – Nicolle Beaury (Troy, NY)


Read More of Their Stories→