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Parents Demand Inclusion Of Lunar New Year As NYC School Holiday

New York City schools last week announced the addition of two holidays in the school calendar next year, but one group said its holiday was left off the schedule yet again.

As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, Lunar New Year is bright and festive, and is celebrated by millions around the world. Some of those who celebrate the holiday are right in New York City and the surrounding area.

The Korean-American Parent Association of Greater New York met Tuesday morning in Flushing, Queens, for an event that most definitely was not a celebration at all.

“We are sick and tired of pushing away, and it’s time to be done,” said Christine Colligan of the group.

The group said Lunar New Year was once again left off the school holiday calendar for 2015-2016.

“This is not fair to the Asian community,” said Dawa Jung, a representative for state Rep. Tony Avella (D-Queens).

Both parents and legislators have been calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio and schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña to add the holiday to the list.

“For Asian families, this is the most important holiday for them,” Jung said. “A lot of families travel from all over the world to be with their family members, and as a result, students, and sometimes teachers, are forced to miss school.”

“Especially here in Queens, we would love to see the culture represented with this one day of the year,” said City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-19th). “We stood together and said we wanted to see this happen.”

Just last week, de Blasio announced the addition of two Muslim holidays to the calendar. When asked about the Lunar New Year during that same announcement, the mayor said city officials were still working on it.

“What we’ve found in this process is that we are in a very tight situation, as I said, with the number of days that we have to achieve each year, so it’s going to take more work to get to that,” de Blasio said. “We remain focused on it, but it will take more work.”

But as one parent put it at the meeting, it is more than just a day off for their children.

“I want my children — young generation — to be Korean-American, not just American,” the parent said.

Quite a few lawmakers have also sent de Blasio letters encouraging the holiday addition. There is also a push to make Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, a holiday.

See Full Article & Video at CBS New York