March 16, 2016, Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Michael M. Honda (D-CA) issued a statement about the importance of continuing to recognize the cultural and historical significance of Nowruz in the U.S. Congress. Congressman Honda is the sponsor of PAAIA’s annual Nowruz receptions on Capitol Hill and legislation honoring the Iranian New Year.
“It is important to express our appreciation for the contributions of Iranian-Americans and all those who celebrate Nowruz and recognize the hopes and aspirations of the people of Iran for human rights and religious tolerance as embodied in the spirit of Nowruz,” said Congressman Honda in a press release. “This is particularly important in light of the two Iranian-Americans who will be spending their Nowruz under Iranian detention. Nowruz symbolizes a time of renewal, harkening the departure from the trials and tribulations of the previous year and bringing hope for the New Year.”
Last year, Congressman Honda introduced H.Res.156, a bipartisan resolution, in honor of the Iranian New Year into the House of Representatives. The legislation recognizes the cultural and historical significance of Nowruz and wishes Iranian Americans, the people of Iran, and all those who celebrate the holiday a prosperous new year.
In addition to commemorating the Nowruz holiday, the resolution acknowledges the “lasting contributions” of Persian civilization to the world and the “noteworthy” impact Iranian Americans have had to the social and economic fabric of America. The resolution also underscores the importance of human rights and religious tolerance not just for the people of Iran, but for people everywhere, and supports the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.
The resolution marks the second time Congressman Honda has introduced legislation in support of the Persian New Year. In 2009 and 2010, PAAIA worked with Congressman Honda to mark the official congressional recognition of the holiday as part of a broader effort to foster greater understanding of the Iranian culture and heritage as well as projecting an accurate and positive image of the Iranian American community.
The resolution currently has a total of sixteen co-sponsors. Original co-sponsors include Representatives Andre Carson (IN-7th), Gerald Connolly (VA-11th), Donna Edwards (MD-4th), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12th), John Mica (FL-7th) and Scott Peters (CA-52nd) .
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