2014-02-26 / Features

Assembly Celebrates Asian Lunar New Year At Capitol


Assemblymembers David Weprin, Francisco Moya, Edward C. Braunstein, Nily Rozic and Ron Kim celebrate the Asian New Year with Professor Dengting Boyanton and students at St. John’s University. Assemblymembers David Weprin, Francisco Moya, Edward C. Braunstein, Nily Rozic and Ron Kim celebrate the Asian New Year with Professor Dengting Boyanton and students at St. John’s University. On February 11, the New York state Assembly held an Asian New Year Celebration. Assemblymember David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) co-hosted the celebration with New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblymembers Ron Kim (D-Flushing), Nily Rozic (D-Flushing), Edward C. Braunstein (DBayside), Franciso Moya (D-Jackson Heights) and Félix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn).

The New York state Assembly presented certificates to Qi Chen, Sidi Liang, Tiancheng Chai, Rongrong Wang and Yu Long, students who were a part of the TESOL China-U.S. exchange program at St. John’s University. Certificates were also presented to Stephen Boyanton, Ellen Boyanton and Lei Zhang. Professor Dengting Boyanton, assistant professor of Educational Psychology at Long Island University and Christopher Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) were presented proclamations in recognition of their outstanding achievements and contributions to the Asian American community of New York.

“New York state is proud to be one of the most culturally diverse states in the world and it is crucial that we honor and support that diversity,” said Silver. “We welcome the New York Asian community to the Capitol to celebrate the Lunar New Year.”

The Lunar New Year in 2014 marks the Year of the Horse on the Asian Lunar calendar. The event was celebrated with traditional food, a “year of the horse” cake cutting, Asian lanterns and other festive decorations. All of the honored guests dressed in traditional clothing. The celebration was held a week after legislation (A.7756/S.5862), sponsored by Kim and state Senator Daniel Squadron (D-Manhattan) passed through the Assembly. The bill would allow students who attend schools in areas that have a large population of Asian Americans to be excused for being absent to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Every year, schools in areas that have a large Asian population such as Chinatown in Manhattan and Flushing, report large numbers of absences on the Lunar New Year. At P.S. 130, on Baxter Street in Manhattan, school officials reported absentee rates of up to 80 percent on previous Lunar New Year holidays. Absentee rates have been reported as high as 50 percent at P.S. 124, on Division Street.

“So many of my constituents, as well as children across our state, celebrate Lunar New Year,” said Kim. “Last week we made sure that they should not have to be marked absent for spending time with family and friends on a day of such great significance. Today, I’m proud to join my colleagues to recognize and honor the wonderful diversity of our state by celebrating the Asian Lunar New Year at the New York state Capitol.”

“The Lunar New Year is a time for the Asian American community to celebrate their rich cultural heritage and honored family traditions. I cohosted an Asian New Year celebration with my colleagues at the Capitol so that we would have the honor of recognizing all of the outstanding contributions that Asian Americans have made to our great state,” stated Weprin.

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