- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has designated the Lunar New Year an official public school holiday, following intensifying pressure from the local Asian community.

“We pledged to families we would keep working until we made Lunar New Year an official school holiday, and today we are keeping that promise,” Mr. de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday.

Students will now get a day off on the Asian holiday, which is coordinated by the cycles of the moon and lands on Feb. 8 next year. After San Francisco, New York is the second major urban school district to add the holiday to the official school calendar, Reuters reported.

“This holiday is not about kids just getting a day off from school,” said Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens, who sponsored the bill. “It’s about the city of New York telling hundreds of thousands of Asian-Americans that their culture and heritage is part of the American fabric.”

Gigi Li, a Chinatown resident who also serves as chairwoman for Community Board 3, called it “a historic day,” DNA Info reported.

Wellington Chen, the executive director of the Chinatown Partnership, said the decision is “absolutely great” but “long overdue,” seeing that local organizations and elected officials had spent years pushing for the holiday’s inclusion, DNA Info reported.

Tuesday’s announcement came after the mayor declared in March that the city would honor the Muslim holidays Eid al-Firt and Eid al-Adha.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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