New York: Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday signed legislation that makes Diwali a school holiday for New York City public schools. Legislation S.7574/A.7769 requires that all public schools in New York City be closed on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Indian calendar in each year, which is known as Diwali.
“New York City is rich in different religions and cultures, and we’re taking an important step to recognize and celebrate this diversity in the school calendar,” Governor Hochul said. “This legislation to designate Diwali as a New York City school holiday is an opportunity for our children to learn about and celebrate traditions from across the world.”
This legislation also amends the education law to declare 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.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo said, “I truly appreciate Governor Hochul’s approval to acknowledge Diwali as a school holiday. I also commend my friend, Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar for her initiative on passing this legislation in the Assembly and working with my legislative team in passing my bill in the Senate.”
Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar, who spearheaded the campaign along with many other prominent community leaders said, “As the first Indian-American and first Hindu elected to New York State Office, I thank Governor Hochul for signing my momentous bill. With the signing of my bill, we have lit an everlasting lamp in the hearts and minds of all New Yorkers. This is an achievement that will outlive me.”
“This is a significant achievement following decades of grassroots efforts in New York. IDC is pleased that Diwali has become a national celebration in the White House, several state houses and city councils.”
Ashook Ramsaran, International President – Indian Diaspora Council
“Growing up attending NYC public schools, I always was conflicted of choosing my education or my faith. But now the next general of South Asians will have the opportunity to choose both and that’s a very special thing for us all.”
Japneet Singh, President, Khalsa Community
“This is exciting news for Hindu Community across New York. The 300,000 New Yorkers who celebrate Diwali are now able to celebrate it with their entire families without being forced to forgo sending their children to school.”
Bhajan Sarker, President, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, New York
“On behalf of the Nepali Community we are profoundly grateful to our beloved Governor Kathy Hochul for recognizing the Hindu community and Diwali festival of lights. “
Nabaraj KC, Nepali Community Leader