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Hochul signs legislation to declare Lunar New Year a school holiday


Mon, Sep 11th 2023 01:30 pm

Legislation (A.7768/S.7573) requires all public schools close for Asian Lunar New Year

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation to declare Asian Lunar New Year a public school holiday across New York. Legislation (A.7768/S.7573) would ensure schools are not in session on Lunar New Year.

“By designating Lunar New Year as an official school holiday, we are taking an important step in recognizing the importance of New York’s AAPI community and the rich diversity that makes New York so great,” Hochul said. “It is not just a day off from school – it is an opportunity for our children to learn about and celebrate their own or different cultures and traditions.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “Making Lunar New Year a holiday for New York's public schools is a direct result of the hard work of the Assembly majority and the dedicated members of our Asian Pacific Task Force. New York state is beautifully diverse, with people from different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds living, working and raising families together. The Lunar New Year holiday will give thousands of Asian students in our state the ability to gather together and celebrate with family and friends without having to sacrificing their education. I hope this will also shine a light on the culture and traditions of our Asian friends and neighbors – and in a time where we have seen hate and violence against Asian communities, this will open people’s eyes, encouraging tolerance and acceptance.”

Legislation (A.7768/S.7573) amends the education law to declare Asian Lunar New Year a public school holiday statewide. The legislation requires that all public schools close for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Assembly member Grace Lee, co-chair of the Assembly’s Asian Pacific American (APA) Task Force, said, "It is an honor to have led this historic effort to recognize Lunar New Year as a statewide holiday in New York. As Asian Americans, we have gone unseen and unheard in New York for too long, and this bill is recognition for our contributions to New York history, and validation that our voices and our stories matter. Now, I will be able to join thousands of families across the state in celebrating Lunar New Year at home with my kids. This law will expose new generations to Asian culture, and it will promote diversity and inclusion at a time when Asian New Yorkers are suffering from anti-Asian hate. By making New York the first state in the country to mandate statewide school closures in observance of Lunar New Year, we are setting a valuable example for other states to follow.”

In the fiscal year 2024 budget, Hochul allocated $30 million in awards for community organizations through Asian American Federation and the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families – the largest investment ever to support AAPI communities in the entire state. Her team said, “This funding goes toward an ever more diverse pool of community-based organizations providing culturally responsive and linguistically competent services, as well as addressing systemic violence, racism, and discrimination faced by the AAPI community.”

New York State Sen. Sean Ryan said, “The holidays we celebrate are a reflection of the great diversity of the people who call New York home. The designation of Lunar New Year as a statewide public school holiday will ensure families can celebrate together, and is a recognition of the strength of AAPI communities here in Western New York and across our state.”

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