Officials Want Lunar New Year Holiday
By Joe Marvilli
A group of community leaders met in Flushing at the end of January to show their support for a day off from school on the Lunar New Year.
U.S. Rep Grace Meng (D-Bayside), State Senators Daniel Squadron (D-Manhattan) and Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) met with Asian-American community organizers in front of PS 20 to urge the City to make the Asian Lunar New Year a school holiday.
As classes walked in from recess at the school behind them, the group mentioned legislation that would establish the day of the Lunar New Year as a school holiday in municipalities where the Asian American population is at least 7.5 percent.
“There is an intangible effect in passing this type of legislation,” Kim said. “It sends a message that the state of New York respects the Asian-American communities.”
Stavisky said she believed that given how important the Lunar New Year is to families, it is imperative that the school system acknowledges the commitment. Stavisky serves on the Senate Committee on Education.
“It’s a family-oriented cultural observance and I think the Dept. of Education has to recognize that,” she said.
The Dept. of Education replied to the holiday request, saying “New York’s diversity has always been one of its greatest strengths, and with so many religions practiced throughout our city, we have to weigh additional school closings with the need to give our kids as much time in the classroom as possible.”
Meng’s presence in Queens’ Asian celebrations will be furthered as she will be the first grand marshal of Elmhurst’s inaugural Lunar New Year parade on Feb. 9.
While this is the first Lunar New Year Parade in Elmhurst, it is the third year the community has held Lunar New Year festivities.
“I am incredibly honored and proud to serve as the first ever grand marshal for this terrific event, and I thank Councilman Dromm for all his work in making it a success” said Meng.
The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at C.C. Moore Homestead Park and will call in the Year of the Snake by marching down Broadway towards St. James’ Episcopal Church, where a fair will be held.
Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.