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Congress Members Press Farina on Diwali Holiday

Shut Schools for South Asian Fest

Rep. Joe Crowley, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, along with Representatives Charles Rangel, Grace Meng, Gregory Meeks, Yvette Clarke and Carolyn Maloney sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña urging the Department of Education to include the festival of Diwali on the list of new public school holidays.

“We appreciate your consideration of school holidays that reflect our diverse city and ensure that students aren’t forced to choose between attending school and observing important holidays with their families,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

Diwali, which marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year, is a festival of great significance to millions of Indians and Indian Americans and is widely celebrated amongst the 3 million-plus Indian- American community, as well as others. Known as the festival of lights,

Diwali is a time for thanksgiving and prayer for health, knowledge and prosperity. The festival is widely celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, as well as others.

Crowley led his colleagues in creating the first-ever Congressional Diwali celebration in October 2013. The event brought together hundreds of celebrants- including members of Congress, prominent Indian leaders, and members of the Indian American community-to build a greater understanding of differing cultural backgrounds and increase understanding and tolerance.

In 2011, Crowley introduced a resolution to recognize Diwali and the strong and growing partnership between the U.S. and India.

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