US Congresswoman Grace Meng(D-NY), the First Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, is proposing designating Diwali as an official federal holiday.
This inclusive initiative about the joyous Indian Festival of lights has garnered widespread support from diverse communities nationwide.
During a virtual press briefing, Congresswoman Grace Meng emphasized the significance of Diwali, a cherished occasion celebrated by billions worldwide and particularly revered by families and communities in Queens, New York, and throughout the United States.
If approved by both the legislative and executive branches, the Diwali Day Act would establish Diwali as the twelfth official holiday acknowledged by the federal government in the United States. This legislation aims to grant formal recognition to the vibrant festival of lights celebrated by millions, honoring the rich cultural heritage and contributions of the Indian American community.
“My Diwali Day Act is one step toward educating all Americans on the importance of this day, and celebrating the full face of American diversity. I look forward to shepherding this bill through Congress,” Meng said, according to Connected to India.
Expressing her support for the initiative, Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, an Indian American representative in the New York Assembly, hailed the proposed bill to establish Diwali as a federal holiday. She emphasized the unity displayed by the entire state in favor of recognizing Diwali and the South Asian community. Rajkumar applauded Congresswoman Meng for championing this national movement.
Additionally, New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney commended Congresswoman Meng for her ongoing efforts to enhance the visibility of the Asian American community. Cooney highlighted that designating Diwali as a federal holiday not only pays tribute to those who celebrate it but also brings attention to a cultural tradition that may not be regularly experienced by all Americans, according to Connected to India.
According to Ria Chakrabarty, the Policy Director for Hindus for Human Rights, Diwali holds great significance for Hindus, as it is a time when they come together with friends and family to commemorate the triumph of justice over injustice.
“As the first Indian American ever elected to NYC government, I am so proud to support Congresswoman Meng’s legislation to establish ‘Deepavali’ as a federal holiday. It is crucial that children like my own are able to officially celebrate our holidays with their families in a way that I was not able to growing up,” he told Connected to India.
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