U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) announced today that she has reintroduced a measure in Congress that seeks to promote International Mother Language Day, a holiday that holds special significance to Bangladesh and those of Bangladeshi descent.
Meng’s measure, a Congressional resolution, calls on the House of Representatives to support the goals and ideals of International Mother Language Day. It also encourages the people of the United States to mark the annual observance with appropriate ceremonies, programs and activities. The Congresswoman introduced the resolution last year as well.
International Mother Language Day is celebrated every February 21st, which this year is tomorrow (Saturday).
Established in 1999 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to increase awareness of linguistic diversity and multilingualism, International Mother Language Day is celebrated around the world. But the observance date of February 21st was selected to mark the day in 1952 when students in Dhaka were killed by police while demonstrating for recognition of Bengali as the national language of Pakistan. Dhaka, now the Capital of Bangladesh, had been controlled by Pakistan at the time.
“I’m proud to once again introduce this resolution in an effort to make more Americans aware of what International Mother Language Day means to the people of Bangladesh and Bangladeshi-Americans,” said Meng. “I call on my colleagues in Congress to pass it soon so that many in the U.S. can learn more about this important observance.”
Meng’s resolution has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Cosponsors include Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA), Al Green (D-TX), Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) and Grace Napolitano (D-CA).
International Mother Language Day was established by UNESCO after adopting a resolution that was submitted by Bangladesh and co-sponsored by 28 other countries. The day is a national holiday in Bangladesh and is referred to there as the Language Movement Day.
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