Assemblymember Grace Lee, Assemblymember William Colton Introduce Bill to make Lunar New Year a New York State Holiday

New York, New York Today, Assemblymember Grace Lee, Assemblymember William Colton held a press conference at the Chinese Benevolent Association (CCBA) in Manhattan to promote the passage of Bill #9541, which would make Lunar New Year a new public holiday in New York State. They were joined by Raymond Tsang, President of CCBA, District Leaders Victoria Lee and Justin Yu, and other community leaders.

In co-sponsoring this bill, Assemblymember Lee takes her first legislative action since taking the oath of office on January 4th of this year. Bill #9541 was first introduced by Assemblymember Colton during the 2021-2022 assembly session.

“I am proud to introduce my first bill in the Assembly today with my colleague Assemblymember Colton - to make Lunar New Year a state holiday,” said Assemblymember Grace Lee (AD65). “Assemblymember Colton has long served the Asian community in his district in Brooklyn and it is an honor to join him in co-sponsoring this bill for Asians across New York State.

This bill is personal to me - as an Asian American, to have this bill passed would be an acknowledgment that our culture is to be celebrated and that we are seen. As a mother, I want my daughters to always be aware of their culture and be proud of their identity. With this bill, we are recognizing and showing respect for the incredible diversity and cultural contributions of Asian Americans in New York,” Lee added.

“Asian Americans have played a vital role in shaping our nation while continuously facing discrimination and violence. This holiday is one of the most important traditional holidays amongst the Asian community and is widely celebrated in the U.S.,” said Assemblymember Colton (AD47). “I believe that creating a public holiday such as Lunar New Year will promote and increase awareness of Asian history and tradition, not just in our community, but nationwide.”

“Lunar New Year marks new beginnings, reflections, and a time to reconnect [with] our roots. Throughout my Chinese American upbringing, I sacrificed school and work to celebrate with loved ones,” said District Leader Victoria Lee (65D). “Officially recognizing the holiday removes the burden of choosing between identity and obligation. This long overdue bill recognizes Lunar New Year’s cultural significance to all who celebrate while welcoming every New York to celebrate alongside.”

“When this bill passes, it will be a great step forward for our community,” said Justin Yu, District Leader (65D). “Lunar New Year is one of our most cherished holidays, but unfortunately, many are unable to celebrate it properly due to work and school. Thank you to Assemblymembers Lee and Colton for advocating for our communities and urging the state to show respect for our holiday transitions and cultural identity.”

“I’m really excited that Assemblymember Lee and Assemblymember Colton are introducing this bill,” said Raymond Tsang, President of CCBA. “My kids just asked me why they don’t get the day off for Lunar New Year. Hopefully, with this bill, our state will honor the holiday going forward.”