New York State Governor Kathy Hochul stated that making Diwali a school holiday in New York City provides...
Digital Desk: In a groundbreaking move, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation making Diwali a school holiday for New York City public schools.
"New York City is rich in different religions and cultures, and we're taking an important step to recognise and celebrate this diversity in the school calendar," Hochul told a news conference on Tuesday.
The legislation requires that all public schools in New York City close on the "15th day of the eighth month of the Indian calendar in each year, which is known as Diwali," according to a news statement released by Hochul's office.
Hochul stated that making Diwali a school holiday in New York City provides "an opportunity for our children to learn about and celebrate traditions from around the world."
Hochul signed the bill during a Diwali celebration at the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Flushing, New York.
Hochul stated on her X handle that "she believes a celebration of light should not be held in the dark."
According to the press release, the legislation alters the education code to make Diwali a holiday for New York City public schools.
"Many people of the Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist faiths in New York City and throughout the state observe the festival of Diwali and more than 1 billion people around the world celebrate this holiday," claimed as per the press release.
New York State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Indian-American and first Hindu elected to a New York State Assembly seat and the driving force behind attempts to make Diwali a school holiday in New York City declared that generations of New Yorkers will now celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights.
"By signing my bill, we say to over 600,000 Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist New Yorkers, 'We see you, we recognise you, and Diwali is an American holiday'", Rajkumar stated.
Rajkumar expressed her pride in leading and winning the campaign for the Diwali School Holiday this year.
"Today, my historic Diwali bill is officially signed into law," she stated, thanking Hochul for his support of "my momentous bill."
Rajkumar stated that the South Asian community has been lobbying for the Diwali vacation for over two decades.
"By signing my bill, we lit an eternal lamp in the hearts and minds of all New Yorkers." "This is an accomplishment that will outlast me," she said.
According to New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Diwali's message is crucial and required in this time of "local and global racism and anger."
Dr. Dilip Nath, President of the New American Voter Association, stated in the release that he is pleased to see Hochul finally enacting a long-standing Diwali commemoration holiday into law. "On the day of Diwali no student will have to choose between celebrating with their family or their school obligations," he added.
According to Bhajan Sarker, President of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad New York, "the 300,000 New Yorkers who celebrate Diwali will now be able to celebrate it with their entire families without being forced to forego sending their children to school."
"On behalf of the Nepali Community, we are profoundly grateful to our beloved Governor Kathy Hochul for recognising the Hindu community and the Diwali festival of lights," stated Nepali Community Leader and Executive Member of the Hami Nepali NabarajKC.
Ashook Ramsaran, President of the Indian Diaspora Council International, described the legislation's signing as a "significant achievement following decades of grassroots efforts" in New York.