Following the “long overdue” decision to make Diwalii an official school holiday, comes the decision by the state to add Lunar New Year to the school calendar.
The bill was approved earlier this summer and was officially signed into legislation by Governor Kathy Hochul on Saturday, September 9th. It requires statewide public schools to close in observance for 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,” Governor 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.”
It’s been a long awaited decision as New York State has the second largest Asian population in the country.
“The Lunar New Year is the most significant time of the year for Asian Americans, and as the fastest growing community in the country, we need to make sure our heritage, culture and traditions are treated with the same respect and reverence as any other American holiday,” said State Senator John Liu.
“Now families don’t have to choose between their education and celebrating their cultural heritage. This act recognizes the contributions of the AAPI community in the diverse tapestry of our great state and brings greater awareness, combatting the hate that AAPI New Yorkers face,” added State Senator Iwen Chu.
The new law comes after New York’s largest investment to date in support of AAPI communities. Governor Kathy Hochul put aside $30 million of the FY 2024 Budget in awards for organizations through Asian American Federation and the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families.
Read more in the press release here.