DEI means recognizing the intrinsic humanity in everyone.

This, our first Newsletter, brings you updates of efforts to support

diversity, equity, and inclusion in our town.

News from the Desmond-Fish Public Library

The Library is partnering with Philipstown Aging at Home (PAAH) to offer a book discussion group for The 1619 Project, a collection of essays that reframe our nation's history by taking into account the contributions of enslaved Americans brought from Africa. The first session, based on the first two chapters, will be held on Monday, May 6, at 1 p.m. at the Library. Books are available at the Library. Read more and sign up here.

Join the Philipstown Reform Synagogue on Sunday, May 5 at 1:30 p.m. as they present an unusual Canadian Screen Award winning documentary, The Accountant of Auschwitz in honor of Yom Ha Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). The film will be followed by discussion and a memorial, led by Rabbi Helaine Ettinger, to remember all those who perished in the World War II Holocaust, and those who were, and are, innocent victims of genocides and war over history and currently around the world.

For Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, enjoy reading The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan - a compelling story of mothers and daughters - and come to the Library to watch the film on May 16 at 3:00 p.m. Copies of the book are available to borrow at the Library.

News from the Butterfield Public Library

Butterfield Library offers you the chance to begin to learn the Spanish language or practice the Spanish you know. Join the group Cafe y Charlar, starting May 14. The conversation is led by fluent Spanish Speaker Vanessa Maldonado, who is also the Adult program coordinator. ¡Aprende espanol con nosotros en la biblioteca! ( If you can read this then you're ready!) Space is limited. Contact the Library to register.

The Butterfield Library’s Book Club meets monthly on a Monday evening. For Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, join the group on Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m. to discuss Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu, an exploration of Asian American stereotypes, police procedurals, and the immigrant experience. The book won the National Book Award in 2020. Contact the Library to register.

News from the Haldane Central School District

On March 27, the Haldane EDI Committee of the Haldane PTA sponsored a talk by Virginia Sole-Smith on her book, Fat Talk. The event was open to the entire community, and the link is here. (Passkey: ptafattalk). The Haldane PTA and the Haldane School Foundation provided funding for the insightful, thought-provoking presentation by this esteemed local author, interviewed in The New York Times on April 22. Visit her Website for more about Virginia and her work.

News from the Garrison Union Free School District

While May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Garrison recognizes that mental health is a critically important topic all year long. Recently, the District partnered with the Philipstown Behavioral Health Hub in a workshop to provide tools and skills for teachers. During Autism Awareness Month, staff and students crafted individual puzzle pieces, culminating in a magnificent puzzle displayed in the hallway, symbolizing unity and understanding.

News from the Manitou School

Throughout the 2023/2024 school year at the Manitou School we have been excited to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, Winter Solstice, Lunar New Year, Holi, Juneteenth, and more. We also hold parent workshops open to the community, notably one with Damali Peterman on de-biasing work, as well as one with Elizabeth Greenblatt on Gender and Sexuality. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to learn about future programs.

About the Philipstown DEI Committee

Our group was formed following a racist incident at a library event in 2021. Members representing the Garrison Union Free School District, the Haldane PTA EDI Committee, Butterfield Library, and the Desmond-Fish Public Library developed a community-wide survey, the results of which can be read here. The two school districts and the two public libraries have also been joined by the Manitou School, and other organizations are welcome to be part of the effort. Please contact

Our Mission Statement

The mission of the Philipstown DEI Committee is to raise awareness

and foster learning and sharing opportunities that promote

community-wide engagement.  By working together across institutions, we strive to ensure that all Philipstown community members are represented, acknowledged, and valued.

Future Plans

We invite you to join our Zoom meetings that are held the last Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. Other projects we are working on include a Spanish-language Book Club, guest speakers and authors, parent workshops, a Library of Humans, and more. To obtain a link, email

We will share future newsletters in Spanish also; thank you for your patience.

Compartiremos futuros boletines en español; gracias por su paciencia.

La diversidad, la equidad y la inclusión son objetivos muy importantes.