Brookline is My Home

AAPI Heritage Month Exhibit at Brookline Village Library

In May 2022, The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations, in partnership with the Brookline Village Library, has reached out to a number of community members living in Brookline to gather elements that represent the AAPI heritage and is excited to share that with you through the AAPI Heritage Month Exhibit, now displayed at the Brookline Village library until June 30, 2022. You are welcome to come see the exhibit from close, and also take the opportunity to read the incredible and powerful essays of the student winners from the BAAFN Asian American Student Essay Contest. We would like to welcome all of you to understand, learn and share your support to the AAPI community.

Library Display for Asian America Pacific Islander Heritage Month

To learn more about Asian Pacific American Heritage and the incredible work being done by AAPI here and throughout the country, you can click on these links:

Various things in a display case


In June the Town celebrates the progress and accomplishments of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer community. On May 11, 2021 the Brookline Select Board unanimously voted to recognize June as LGBTQ Pride Month in the Town of Brookline. Follow this link to read the LGBTQIA+ Proclamation.

On June 2, 2019 the Brookline community came together and painted a PRIDE Crosswalk outside of Town Hall. Families and residents of all ages had a great time being a part of this community event. . The painting of a Pride Crosswalk in a prominent location is a symbolic and meaningful public demonstration of our community’s commitment to supporting equal rights for the LGBTQ community. In 2020 due to COVID -19 DPW committed to painting the PRIDE Crosswalk outside of Town Hall.

In June of 2021the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations and the Brookline Department of Public Works partnered with students from the Brookline High School GSA and Elementary School GSAs to paint Pride Crosswalks at each of the interested schools over the last month! 9 Schools, 18 Crosswalks, and 1 Sidewalk! Students, teachers, parents, and Town employees alike all had so much fun bringing some PRIDE to our school communities!

For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Caitlin Starr, MPH, CDE at [email protected] or at 617-730-2345.

Image Description: A slideshow of still images of students from nine different schools painting rainbow colored crosswalks throughout Brookline.

FULL LGBTQ and PRIDE Historical Timeline

How to be a good Trans ally

30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26, 2020, is the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). July is known as ADA Month/Disability Pride Month.

Instructional video: How to Guide a Person with Vision Loss

Many people would like to assist a person with vision loss when appropriate but hesitate because they don’t know how. The Town of Brookline, Massachusetts has just released a new instructional video telling and showing via demonstration clips, how-to guide a person with vision loss in a variety of common situations.

Produced by the Town’s Commission on Disability, along with Brookline Age-Friendly Cities TV and Brookline Interactive Group, the video is simple and offers repetition in the demonstrations to make learning and remembering easy.

This video is free to all and may be used by any agencies, organizations, groups, or individuals who find it useful. The Brookline Commission on Disability welcomes questions, feedback, and reports on how it is being used.

Contact the Town of Brookline’s Community Relations Specialist and ADA / Section 504 Coordinator, at 1-617-730- 2326, TTY 1-617-730-2327

Brookline ADA webpage

The ADA Coordinator is: Sarah E. Kaplan, [email protected], 617-730-2329, in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations.

Assisting people with vision loss during the pandemic

People with vision loss often turn to strangers in various public places for assistance in getting to their desired location, whether it is to cross the street or to find an elevator in an office building or hospital. Most people are generous in offering help in these circumstances but may hesitate during the pandemic since it is difficult to stay 6 feet apart when guiding a visually impaired person. The Town of Brookline has produced an instructional video on standard guiding techniques, but some modifications are desirable during the community’s concerns about virus transmission.

When guiding a visually impaired person, both the individual and the guide should be wearing masks; note that they are facing in the same direction so are not directing their breath toward each other. A plastic bag or piece of cloth can keep them from touching bare hand to bare elbow skin. Additional ideas for safe guiding with increased distance include placing hand on the guide’s back rather than the arm, putting a shopping cart between the two people (guide in front), using an extra cane as a guiding pole, each holding one end, and guiding verbally from behind. In all cases, the person with vision loss should also be using a mobility aid, such as a cane.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, Signing Ceremony, July 26, 1990

This video documents the experience of people who worked hard to get the ADA passed. Hear directly from them about the importance of that day and what the ADA means to them.

Museum of disABILITY History

Located in Buffalo, New York

People with Disabilities in Brookline

This image shows three graphs about People with Disabilities in Brookline. The first pie chart shows that in the 2019-2020 school year, 16.3% of students in Brookline Public Schools were identified as students with disabilities (according to the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education. The second pie chart shows that according to statistics from the US Census Bureau, in 2014-2018, 3.5% of residents of Brookline under the age of 65 identified as a person with a disability. The last pie chart concerns the 2018 National Citizens Survey in which 6% of the respondents in Brookline answered "Yes" to the question: "Does any member of your household have a physical handicap or is anyone disabled?"

People with Disabilities and Brookline

May and June 2020 Brookline's Diverse Community Virtual Display

Due to the state of social distancing and uncertainty about what to expect in the months to come, our Office decided to curate an online, virtual display celebrating the many diverse communities, heritages, identities and stories within Brookline. Below are images and videos submitted by Brookline residents that represent an important recipe or item from their family heritage or culture.

Artwork submitted by Junie Levine for Asian American Heritage Month
"A tribute to ancestors heritage faith for they live on forever" 
Submitted by the Brookline Asian American Family Network
Submitted by Frances Shedd-Fisher
recipe part 1
recipe part 2
Submitted by Miriam Rosalyn Diamond
Jewish Spicebox
Submitted by Jonathan Margolis
Submitted by Cathleen Cavell
Silver Goblet
Submitted by Tommy Vitolo

Indigenous People's Day

Native American Tapestry

Brookline Recognizes Indigenous People’s Day

In October the Town respectfully recognizes the contributions, sacrifices, and tribulations of our nation’s indigenous people and others throughout the world.  We ask that our community members take pause on this day and take time to learn about cultures that were here long before it became what we now call home.   

Brookline celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month | September 15th-October 15th

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National celebration of Hispanic Heritage.

Hispanic Heritage display image

SELVA VIRGEN | Brookline connections to the Amazon Rainforest in Peru

Julia Alegria's daughter and son-in-law are Brookline residents. Alegria lives in Loreto, Peru, where she owns and privately preserves 25 hectares of rainforest, called Selva Virgen. She works to protect the air, water, flora and fauna in the area and maintain the biodiversity of the rainforest. Some of the trees on her land are over 500 years old! Although she is retired from teaching school after 26 years, she believes she has a responsibility to continue teaching people about the world, land, and environment, especially as threats like global warming continue to loom. For the last 15 years, Alegria has been working with other private land owners as part of a cooperative to preserve Peru's wildlife. But it's not just nature that they're protecting- there are ancient, indigenous cultures that reside in the Amazon. By protecting the land that belongs to these communities, their customs and practices are conserved.