HomeAsian AmericansBill Introduced to Make Diwali a School Holiday in New York

Bill Introduced to Make Diwali a School Holiday in New York

Photo by Khokarahman via Wikimedia Commons

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar introduced legislation that could make Diwali established as a school holiday in New York City, QNS reports. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by a number of people of different backgrounds and faiths.

The law would apply to school districts with substantial populations that celebrate the holiday. Although the bill was introduced just last month, community members and faith leaders have been calling for Diwali to be recognized since the early 2000s.

“As the first Hindu-American and South Asian-American woman elected to state office in New York, I take special pride in advocating for new American communities, including those that celebrate Diwali,” Rajkumar said in a report by QNS.

“The South Asian, Indo-Caribbean, Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist communities are a vital part of our city’s gorgeous mosaic, contributing to every sector of our society,” she added. “It is long past time to honor their vibrant cultural heritage by making Diwali a school holiday, as community leaders have advocated for years. The time has come.”

Assemblyman David Weprin is a co-sponsor of the bill.

“The time has come to make Diwali a school holiday in New York City for the vibrant South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities,” Weprin said, according to QNS.

The Hindu American Foundation released a statement in support of the legislation.

“We urge the New York legislature to pass this measure and likewise urge the Governor to sign it into law,” the organization said, according to Jackson Heights Post. “The Hindu American community in New York City and across the Empire State have been asking the state to recognize us and our holidays so that our families and our children can celebrate our faith.”

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