A couple of days ago my friend mentioned how many different languages are spoken here in Utica. When he told me, my jaw dropped!

I know Utica is an ethnically diverse city. However, I never imagined there were this many languages spoken here.

Utica schools have more than 9,000 students and an estimated 42 different languages spoken - mostly due to the high number of refugees transplanted to the area.

Here's a startling fact: Utica has 40 recent and nearly a dozen other immigrant and refugee groups living here. Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to attend the Redeemer Cup at Proctor Park.  The weather was perfect, and the cultural diversity represented at this event was mesmerizing!

In case you're not familiar with the Redeemer Cup, it's an international soccer tournament that features athletes from 16 different countries. Most of the players currently live right here in Central New York but moved here from other parts of the world. It was an amazing sight to see so many individuals coming together as one.

Our purpose in establishing the Redeemer Cup is to create a bridge-building event that will bring people together and promote peace, friendship and a sense of community in our city.

Utica truly is a melting pot and isn't encouraging to know that we all can get along? isn't that what genuine community really is all about?

Here's a list of the teams who competed: Bhutanese Nepali, Bosnian, Burmese /MEAB, Guatemalan, Iraqi, Italia, Karen, Kenyan, Ugandan, Tanzanian, Rwandan, Burundian, Liberian, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, Polish, and Salvadoran.

This morning Just Jen and I talked about the Redeemer Cup.