ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -Asian Americans celebrating a huge win for their culture after Governor Hochul signed new legislation on September 9. Legislation (A.7768/S.7573) has schools closed for the Chinese Lunar New Year when the holiday falls on a weekday. The 2024 celebration will take place on Saturday, February 10, and will not impact this academic year.

As President of Albany’s Chinese Community Center (CCC), Wei Qin still thinks back to her childhood Lunar New Years; celebrating in bright clothing with food and firecrackers. “The whole package, the image, its impression, so deeply rooted in one’s memory.”

When Qin came to the United States in 2014, she found that her heritage was not as honored as everyone else’s. She felt her children missing out on their culture. “Every year, when it is Lunar New Year Day, I feel sad because my kids have to go to school. It should be a big celebration. Memorable to them like it is to me.”

For more than a decade, Assemblymember William Colton has been pushing for this legislation on behalf of his county. “The Asian community has been here in America and in New York for a long time. My district has about a 45% Asian population.”

New Yorkers across the state demanded change to happen. With a petition that received seven thousand signatures and a crowd on the governor’s staircase in August, their voices were finally heard. “It was a wonderful 100-people rally at the state capital. Several multiple state legislators showed up as supporters,” stated President of APAPA-Syracuse and Former President of CCC, Lining He.

The CCC is going all-out in 2024 to let everyone experience a piece of their culture. “We will work with schools, Empire State Plaza, and other organizations to spread our happiness and let more people celebrate Lunar New Year as much as possible,” explained Qin.