New bill from AM Rajkumar clears way for Adams to make Diwali a city public school holiday

Eric Adams was dubbed the Hindu Mayor by Queens Assembly Member Jennifer Rajkumar Thursday for his plant-based food plan, each day meditation practices and – most significantly – for lastly setting the method in movement to make Diwali a public school holiday.

The pair, joined by city Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David Banks, introduced Thursday morning that Rajkumar is about to introduce a bill in Albany’s decrease chamber that might take away Anniversary Day – generally generally known as Brooklyn-Queens Day – from the public school calendar. That would clear the way for Diwali – the Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhists “festival of lights” – to be added to the public school calendar by the DOE.

“South Asian and Indo-Caribbean families like mine, all over the city, have made incredible contributions and today, I’m proud to say, our time has come,” Rajkumar mentioned. “The time has come to recognize over 200,000 New Yorkers of the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain faiths who celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights. That is why today I stand with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and our Schools Chancellor David Banks to light the way forward to make Diwali once and for all, a school holiday in the city of New York.”

Rajkumar’s laws is critical, she mentioned, as a result of state training regulation mandates that the school calendar include no less than 180 days, which doesn’t enable room for including a further new school holiday with out eradicating one which’s already on the calendar. Because Anniversary Day – a holiday established in 1829 to celebrate the founding of the first Sunday school in Brooklyn and Queens – is an antiquated holiday that now not bears the broad cultural and non secular significance as Diwali, she added, it was the proper day to placed on the chopping block.

“If we’re going to meet this 180-day minimum requirement, we cannot Institute any more holidays,” Rajkumar mentioned. “But in removing the antiquated Anniversary Day school holiday that is observed by no one, my legislation makes the room for Diwali to be a school holiday, while also meeting the 180 day minimum requirement for days of school instruction.”

Adams – who, as mayor-elect final year, vowed to make Diwali a school holiday as soon as he took office on Jan. 1 – mentioned the city has already made the Asian Lunar New Year and Muslim holidays of Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha school holidays, so it’s time to do the identical with Diwali.

“We’ve done it with Eid, we’ve done it with Lunar New Year’s, we do it with so many other days and so many other cultures that we acknowledge it is long overdue to say to our Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist students and communities that ‘we see you we acknowledge you,’” the mayor mentioned. “The inclusiveness of the city is extremely significant and this is our opportunity to say that in a loud way.”

According to a press report, advocates had beforehand blamed the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) – the public school instructor’s union – for stalling negotiations on making Diwali a school holiday, however the union mentioned it hadn’t taken a position on the difficulty. The UFT didn’t reply to PoliticsNY’s requests for remark by publish time.

Banks mentioned making Diwali a school holiday can be a chance to train public school kids from different faiths and cultures about Diwali and its significance to so many communities within the city.

“It’s important not only for the young people who celebrate and who honor Diwali, but it’s important for all students,” Banks mentioned. “When we talk about the education of New York City students, we have to recognize the whole world lives here. It’s the reason why this is the greatest city in the world, because the whole world actually lives here. And they all go to school here. And it is important that we honor and we recognize all of our young people.”

The measure as of publish time doesn’t have a sponsor within the Senate.

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