Asians feel eclipsed after mayor snubs Lunar holiday but taps two Muslim ones | East Villager & Lower East Sider

Asians feel eclipsed after mayor snubs Lunar holiday but taps two Muslim ones

Assemblymember Ron Kim spoke about making the Lunar New Year a school holiday at City Hall, as Assemblymember Sheldon Silver and Councilmember Margaret Chin looked on and state Senator Dan Squadron glanced at a group’s press release. Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Assemblymember Ron Kim spoke about making the Lunar New Year a school holiday at City Hall, as Assemblymember Sheldon Silver and Councilmember Margaret Chin looked on and state Senator Dan Squadron glanced at a group’s press release.
Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

By DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC  |  Elected officials and community groups rallied in front of City Hall last Friday afternoon to push Mayor Bill de Blasio to fulfill his campaign pledge that the Lunar New Year would be a school holiday.

The rally came on the heels of de Blasio announcing last week that two Muslim holidays — Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr — will be added to the school calendar. Schools will be closed on Sept. 24 in observance.

State Senator Daniel Squadron started off the rally by stating that the mayor had more than enough time to add the Lunar New Year to the 2015-2016 school calendar.

While applauding de Blasio for making the Muslim holidays part of the school calendar, Squadron said the mayor should keep his promise on the Lunar New Year.

Next year, Squadron said, it will fall on Mon., Feb. 8, and families should not have to choose between celebrating the holiday and missing a day of school.

“We’re really pushing this,” added Councilmember Margaret Chin, who also called on the mayor to be true to his word.

“There is enough time to plan for next year’s schedule. It must be declared a school holiday,” Chin declared.

Asian Americans make up about 15 percent of the student population in New York City. Students who miss school to celebrate the holiday receive an “excused” absence that is marked on their record.

Congressmember Grace Meng said she was “very puzzled and concerned” when the Muslim holidays were made part of the school calendar, but not the Lunar New Year. Many have rallied for years to make this happen, she said.

No one community is more important than another, stated Assemblymember Sheldon Silver, who reiterated the call for the mayor to keep his promise.

Councilmember Peter Koo said he was “disappointed.”

“Mayor de Blasio, let’s do it now,” he said to applause.

“The Asian New Year, the time is here,” said Councilmember Paul Vallone — as others began to chant the phrase with him.

Gee Yeon Ro, 24, and Eunhye Kim, 32, came to the rally to show their support.

“I think it should be a holiday,” said Kim. “I think it would be really discriminatory if it wasn’t.”