Senator sponsors bill to allow New York schools to close on Vaisakhi, five other religious holidays

Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Diwali, Vaisakhi, Good Friday, and Onam are primary festivals for these communities and are widely celebrated throughout - Senator Thomas

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Senator Kevin Thomas
By Asia Samachar Team | UNITED STATES |

“New York is a multi-cultural state. It is a melting pot of big and small communities of various religious and cultural backgrounds. It is estimated over one million of its population are Muslims, 80,000 Sikhs, some six million celebrate Good Friday, and about two million celebrate Diwali and Onam.

“Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Diwali, Vaisakhi, Good Friday, and Onam are primary festivals for these communities and are widely celebrated throughout the state. They also serve as community building exercise and medium through which traditions and cultures are handed down to next generations.”

That is the justification of a law to introduce six additional religious holidays — two Islamic, two Hindu, one Sikh and Christian Good Friday – at public schools.

“This bill would allow children from these communities to forge stronger bonds with family and friends with the opportunity to learn and appreciate their respective cultural and religious heritage,” reads the bill now at the committee stage.

The bill, sponsored by New York’s first senator of Indian descent Kevin Thomas, will give districts the ability to close on the six identified religious holidays.

The bill will allow school districts with population equal to or greater than seven and half percent of those ethnic and cultural groups to declare those days as holidays.

“Many students are forced to take off each year to observe holidays with their families. This bill would finally rectify that. No longer should these holidays come with a sick day for missing classes,” Senator Thomas said in a statement.

“While it’s long overdue, I’m glad to be the one addressing this concern for many of the residents in my district,” he added.

The bill has advanced to Education Committee. It goes into effect on the first July date after becoming law.

See here for more details on the bill.

 

RELATED STORIES:

American Sikh Congressional Caucus (ASCC) Introduces House Resolution 189 Recognizing The Sikh Festival Vaisakhi In The House of Congress (Asia Samachar, 12 April 2018)

 

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