By Mary Jeneverre Schultz

(Photo Credit: Together Creative Media)

More than 400 community members celebrated the historic passing of HB23-1271, designating Lunar New Year as an Observed State Holiday in Colorado at History Colorado on June 20.

“Our Lunar New Year Allies Advisory Group and Colorado made history! We have solidified one of the most significant holidays for our Asian community by ensuring its permanence for our state and our community,” said Vương-Sandoval, Chair, Lunar New Year Allies Advisory Group.

“As a Việtnamese, a refugee, and a social justice advocate, this landmark law is incredibly meaningful. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of solidarity and support for our work and the continuing and enduring impact of this law for countless future generations.”

(Photo Credit: Together Creative Media)

Moving forward, Lunar New Year will be celebrated every first Friday in February.

“It is up to the community and for everyone that lives in Colorado to take the opportunity on that day top acknowledge and appreciate the significance of the AAPI community,” said Fran Campbell, president of the Asian Chamber of Commerce in Colorado.

Campbell acknowledges thanks and gratitude to the bill sponsors in the state legislature:

Colorado House Representative Matt Soper

Colorado House Representative Serena Gonzalez Gutierrez

Colorado Senator (Senadora) Julie Gonzalez

In addition, Campbell credited those who testified before the House Committee on behalf of HB 23-1271:

Nga Vương-Sandoval, Chair of Lunar New Year Allies Advisory (LUNA) Group

Father Joseph Dang, LUNA Advisory Group member

Jeremy Shaver, Representative of Anti-Defamation League Rocky Mountain Region and Hate Free Colorado

John Lee, Colorado Attorney General’s office

Dan Sweetser, Deputy Executive Director of Colorado and Denver Bar Associations

Neal Walia, Asian Pacific Development Center

Ni Nguyen, local business owner

(Photo Credit: Jessica Moy)

Campbell’s testimony included her position as president of the chamber, her active membership as part of the Filipino-American Community of Colorado and working closely with AAPI small business owners.

Virtual testimonies were provided by Mimi Luong, co-owner of Truong An Gifts and Far East Center; small business owner Tran Nguyen-Wills and president of the National Association of Asian American Professionals Janie Sayavong.

This celebration comes at a time when the AAPI community has mourned tragedies of hatred, xenophobia, and violence in recent years. The recognition of Lunar New Year comes with the hope to promote more cultural diversity and understanding across the state.