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Susan Hartman’s new book follows the lives of Utica’s refugee families

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Susan Hartman’s new book follows the lives of Utica’s refugee families

In August 2014, Susan Hartman profiled Sadia Ambure in a New York Times article about Utica’s refugee population.

Nearly eight years later, Hartman has delivered a deeper look at Utica’s refugee and immigrant population in her new book, “City of Refugees: The Story of Three Newcomers Who Breathed Life into a Dying American Town,” set for release Tuesday, June 7.

Those three newcomers: Ambure, a Somali Bantu refugee, Mersiha Omeragic, the owner of Yummilicious Cafe and Bakery and a Bosnian refugee, and Ali Sarhan, an Iraqi interpreter.

Susan Hartman's new book,

For years, Hartman would travel from outside New York City to Utica to observe and document the lives of Ambure, Omeragic, Sarhan and their loved ones.

“They got used to my scribbling notes as they went about their business,” she said. “And I would drive up from downstate when I felt something special was going on or I just had some time in my schedule.”

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