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February 7, 2008

Congresswoman Velázquez Joins New York’s Chinese Community in
Celebrating the Year of the Rat

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) issued the following statement in recognition of the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rat, which begins today and is followed by 15 days of celebrations and festivals.

“Today we mark the beginning of the Chinese New Year, which will be recognized by more than 1.5 billion people around the world.  In New York City, vibrant Chinatown communities in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens will anchor the celebrations. 

This holiday provides an opportunity for New Yorkers of all backgrounds to join together with their Asian American neighbors.  During the 15-day celebration, we take the time to honor our families, celebrate the rich history of ancient Chinese culture and recognize achievements within the Chinese communities.

The Year of the Rat begins today, and as the first sign of the Chinese zodiac it is a time of hard work, activity and renewal.  A Rat year is known as a good time to make a fresh start.  We will have the opportunity to start anew as the nation comes together to elect a President with the experience to guide us to great achievements.

Chinese communities in New York City and across the country have truly carved out a presence in American life.  Now we must join together to ensure that the needs of this group – which are truly the needs of our entire nation – are not ignored.  As the country faces a difficult economic forecast, we can learn from Chinese American entrepreneurs who continue to forge a path of innovation and prosperity. 

We must work together to overcome barriers to affordable housing, health care and a quality education.  The Year of the Rat will be a time to build new relationships, strengthen ties to the community, and ensure that the programs needed for your success are fully-funded and accessible to all.

I wish you all the best for a new year full of great achievements and wonderful moments with your family and friends.  Congratulations, and may you find peace and prosperity in the coming months.”