PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The Philadelphia School District’s official holiday calendar will soon include two Islamic holidays.
Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. and the Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite announced that they will be working together to officially recognize two Islamic holidays. The two holidays are Eid al-Fitr, celebrated after Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, celebrated at the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Kenney also made an announcement about the new Mayor’s Task Force on Cultural Inclusion.
“Since the start of my term as Mayor, I’ve been committed to working to make the city a more diverse and inclusive place for all,” said Mayor Kenney. “I’m grateful to the stakeholders and leaders that stand with me today to advance inclusion in the many ways that residents practice their faith and religion.”
The Mayor’s Task Force on Cultural Inclusion will study and produce recommendations about the expansion of religious observance days, the education of city management and employees on religious sensitivity in the workplace, how the courts and judicial system can do a better job acknowledging religious days and the best ways to circulate information on religious holidays to the public, and will be made up of various city agencies. Some of the agencies include the Departments of Labor, Commerce and Human Resources, and the District Attorney’s Office, among others.
Preparation for these changes began earlier this year after the Philadelphia City Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution to get recognition for the Eid holidays. The resolution was introduced by Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., and he also led a group of students and parents to the School Reform Commission (SRC) to advocate the Commission to recognize the Eid holidays.
In order for students and staff to celebrate the holidays in the next calendar year, the Philadelphia School District will inform students, parents and staff about the current excused absences policy for those wishing to participate in the celebrations.
After the 2016-2017 year, the school district will present the dates of the holidays to the SRC for a vote to include the holidays, and will continue this process every following year.
The Philadelphia Eid Coalition, made up pf business, government, political and civic leaders, joined together in 2015, and have been a key leader in establishing the holidays.
The task force will be managed under the Mayor’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.