Albany: New Yorkers from all walks of life came to Albany to advocate for Diwali to be a school holiday. With the support of Eric Adams, Mayor, New York City and School Chancellor David Banks, Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar introduced legislation to make Diwali a school holiday.
Jenifer Rajkumar said that time has come to make the festival of lights a school holiday now. “More than 3,00,000 Hindus, Jains, Sikhs celebrate festival of Diwali in New York. It’s only fair that Diwali should be a school holiday so that children can celebrate Diwali with their families,” she said.
Community leader Jagdish Sewhani said that it’s simply unfair for Hindu students in New York City to be at school on their most popular festival. If schools have declared holidays around other religious days, why not for Diwali then?
South Asians and Indo-Caribbeans in New York are fighting for Diwali school holiday for ages. It should be a public holiday in New York City, then New York State and consequently other states should fall on the track. “It’s time to recognize more than 300,000 Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain faiths New Yorkers to celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Thousands of students, parents, and faculty would not have to select between observing the day or missing school or work,” asserted Jagdish Sewhani, President, American India Public Affairs Committee.
“Hinduism is not only the oldest and third largest religion of the world but it is rich in festivals. More so religious festivals are very precious and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, drives out the darkness and lights up lives, representing the victory of good over evil. It indicates the occasion of Bhagwan Shri Ram returning to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.In India Christmas is national holiday, Diwali should be a national holiday in USA too,” asserted Sewhani.
Senator John Liu, Senator Kevin Thomas, Assemblyman David Weprin and many more showed their support for this bill.