NY governor signs law designating Lunar New Year as public school holiday

December 19, 2014
Senator Tony Ann Stavinsky, third from right, speaks at a press conference Thursday about a law that calls for Lunar New Year to be designated a public school holiday.

Senator Tony Ann Stavisky, third from right, speaks at a press conference Thursday about a law that calls for Lunar New Year to be designated a public school holiday.

Lunar New Year may become a public school holiday in New York under a law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo Wednesday.

The law calls for public school holidays for days on which a considerable proportion of students miss classes to observe cultural or religious days.

In Cuomo’s law, cities with an Asian population of more than 7.5 percent in an overall population of more than one million must designate Lunar New Year a public school holiday.

According to a New York State Assembly press release, one in six public school students is of Asian descent in the city of New York.

Assemblyman Ron Kim, who was a main sponsor of the legislation, said in the press release that this “is about making sure that all Americans, regardless of where we come from, are institutionally recognized as first-class citizens. Our strengths as a democratic society lies in our ability to appreciate diversity and grow together by learning from each other.”

Politicians, among them New York Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Councilman Peter Koo, as well as Korean American organization leaders from the Korean American Voters’ Council and the Korean American Family Service Center, gathered in front of Elementary PS20 Thursday and said the effort to accept the diversity of culture and people in New York City had finally been recognized.

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