The Racial & Social Justice Advisory Group advises the Trustees of Forbes Library to ensure that the voices of diverse community members are represented in the library’s efforts to seek out and eliminate underlying structures of white supremacy, and promote racial and social justice in our policies, procedures, and programs.

Committee Members

  • Adrianne Andrews

    Adrianne Andrews retired as the Ombudsperson for Smith College in 2010, a position I held for ten years. Aiding people to resolve disputes and conflict through informal, neutral, and confidential conflict resolution was a very rewarding and personally fulfilling occupation. Additionally, my life-long love of books and reading and learning and, most of all, libraries has enabled me to more deeply understand the cultural context of my own background as an African-American. I hope to contribute to the Racial & Social Justice Advisory Group in a meaningful way from that cultural perspective.

  • Heather Diaz

    Heather Diaz is an information services librarian at Forbes as well as an avid cyclist and gardener. She lives in Northampton.

  • Lisa Downing

    Lisa Downing is the director of the Forbes Library. She also serves on the board of the Northampton Survival Center and is a Girl Scout leader.

  • Lucy Hartry

    I am currently retired, but my public health career spanned more than 30 years, working in reproductive health care services and administration at Tapestry Health.
    I was elected to the Northampton School Committee for three terms (11 years) and served as the Vice Chair for three years. I have served on several committees and boards, such as The Committee for Northampton, created in the wake of Rodney King’s murder, the founding board of Womanshelter/Companeras, a shelter for survivors of domestic violence in Holyoke, Bridge Street School Council and co-president of the PTA.
    I moved to Northampton 45 years ago to get my Masters in Public Health at U. Mass, fell in love with the Pioneer Valley, met my husband and never left.

  • Gina Nortonsmith

    Gina Nortonsmith holds a Master’s in Library and Information Science and serves as a project archivist at Northeastern University.

  • Emily Prabhaker, Chair

    Emily Prabhaker is an elementary school librarian and a Trustee of the Forbes Library. She lives in Northampton with her husband and two daughters.

  • Tina Sanchez

    Tina Sanchez is a now retired attorney originally from NYC. She attended college and law school in Mass and then returned to NY where she worked at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, and the Environmental Protection Bureau of the NYS AG’s Office before teaching law school for several years. After moving to western Mass she worked as a housing attorney with legal services in Springfield for many years before leaving to work with the Center for New Americans. She also teaches an Intro to Law class at UMass. She has also served on several non-profit boards and has worked on recruiting and mentoring students of color over the last 30 years.

  • Bill Scher

    Bill Scher is the Vice President of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum Standing Committee, which reports to the Forbes Library’s Board of Trustees. He is also a freelance writer whose work can often be found in Politico, Real Clear Politics and the Washington Monthly. He hosts the history podcast “When America Worked” and co-hosts the political podcast “The DMZ.”

  • Maxine Schmidt

    I am a retired geologist and science librarian, and a member of the Board of the Friends of Forbes Library, and an officer of the Straw Dog Writers Guild. I have lived in Northampton for 30 years with my partner Becky.

  • Lolan Sevilla

    Lolan Buhain Sevilla, MPA, is an organizer, cultural worker and trainer rooting their work in community, study and practice. With a passion for organizing non-traditional sectors (service providers, medical & legal professionals, philanthropy), Lolan has cultivated an expertise in cross-sectoral nonprofit leadership, specializing in crisis response, program strategy, and organizational development that is grounded in an anti-oppression framework. Currently, they are the Organizer at Funders for Justice, and a Movement Leader Fellow with Leadership For Democracy and Social Justice. Lolan has also served on the Board of Directors for CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities and the Audre Lorde Project. A member of the National Writers Union (Local 1981), Lolan has numerous publishing credits, including the co-authored “Speak Up About It: Community Experiences, and Actions to Reduce the Impact of Anti-TGNC Discrimination in the Workplace.”

Upcoming Meetings

Meetings are open to the public with a comment period at the beginning of each agenda. Please reach out to the director to find out more about the group or to request an item be discussed at a future meeting. Copies of previous meeting minutes are available upon request.