Utica often gets the short end of the stick, poked fun at by the The Simpsons, The Office - and often, its own residents. On Sunday, Utica reminded us what it's made of. And made us all proud.

On Sunday, the city of Utica organized its own protest in reaction to the violent death of George Floyd, to honor his memory, and to unite against "racist injustices and police brutality that plague America."

In Rochester and Syracuse, these protests turned violent and ugly, with rioting, looting, and violence becoming the focus - rather than peace and progress.

Not in Utica. Here, people from all walks of life marched together. We are reminded that Utica's racial diversity, its history of welcoming refugees and immigrants from all over the globe, is its strength.

Photo Credit - Roger Johnston/Captured Momentz Photography

Officers from the Utica Police Department marched among the protesters, holding up signs of their own. It was a moving display, and, we hope - a sign that Utica could be the leader in progress on issues that divide us.

It's funny - when you ask people here where they live, they all name the towns or villages they're in - but when something big happens, we're all Utica. Thank you, Utica, and everyone, from all those towns and villages that participated along with those that live in the city.

Thank you to the Utica Police Department, both for your words and your actions yesterday.

You've proved that peaceful protest is possible. That progress is possible.

It's hard to process everything happening in the United States right now. The situation is complicated and nuanced, and I'm certainly no expert. I know we need to have some hard conversations, and yesterday gives me hope that maybe we can.