Lunar New Year is now an official public school holiday in New York state.
Key details: Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation to make the declaration on Saturday.
Hochul said the holiday is not just a day off from school but also “an opportunity for our children to learn about and celebrate their own or different cultures and traditions.” This year, the governor attended Lunar New Year celebrations in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the holiday will give New York’s thousands of Asian students “the ability to gather together and celebrate with family and friends without having to sacrifice their education.” He also expressed hopes that it will encourage tolerance and acceptance amid hate and violence against Asian communities.
In another statement, Rep. Grace Meng recalled how people laughed when she led the bill to make Lunar New Year a school holiday in New York City when she was in the State Assembly in 2009. Now, she is pushing to turn it into a federal holiday in Congress.
“There were so many naysayers who told me that it would never happen. Now, look at how far we have come,” Meng said.
The big picture: The new public school holiday demonstrates New York’s commitment to supporting AAPI communities. In May, the state approved a record $30 million fund to provide critical services, including crisis intervention and community-based programs to stop anti-Asian attacks.