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Public advocate honors Lunar New Year school holiday

By Madina Toure

Public Advocate Letitia James and community leaders commemorated the first year of the Lunar New Year school holiday Friday morning at the Queens Library in Flushing as the celebration approached.

Lunar New Year will start Feb. 8.

The last time Lunar New Year fell on a weekday in 2012, about 15 percent of the public school student population missed school, or 146,434 students, according to James.

In 2012 62 schools recorded their lowest attendance of the year, including 16 schools in Queens, James said.

“This victory did not happen by itself and did not happen overnight,” she said on the third floor of the library at 41-17 Main St. “It was a long struggle.”

In June 2015, New York City announced that public schools will now be closed on Lunar New Year and added it to the official list of public school holidays. Lunar New Year joins the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr as the most recent additions to the list.

Speakers included Christopher Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality; Mitchel Wu, program manager for the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families; Alex Bennett, community outreach assistant for U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing); and Michelle Wang, president of the New York chapter of Asian Pacific-Islander American Public Affairs Association.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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