From the Board

LONNIE GRAHAM

Chair of the Board of Trustees

An artist, photographer, cultural activist, and graduate of SFAI (MFA 84'), Graham has been a board member since July 2020 and was an Adjunct Professor at SFAI in 2002 and 2016. He is a Pew Fellow and Professor of Art in Photography at Pennsylvania State University, former Executive Director of The PhotoAlliance in San Francisco, and a former board member of the San Francisco Artists Alumni (SFAA).

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Supporting Racial Justice

A response to the guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd

April 20, 2021

What kind of prejudice is defined by the level of fear of a child with a packet of sweets. Or a boy with a cell phone. Or a man with his hands raised in surrender. Or a woman asleep in her bed.

When we as a society have evolved beyond murderous fear, when the conviction of a murderer is something other than a rarified exception, when reason and compassion precede impulse and rage, we will begin to make progress toward a just society.

 

―Lonnie Graham, SFAI Board Chair

Standing Against Intolerance

On behalf of the SFAI community

March 19, 2021

We reach out and reinforce the relationships we have with our friends and families with assurances of solidarity. We stand together and march. We speak out against the pitiful inadequacy that exists within us. For a few moments or a few weeks, sometimes months or even by presidential decree, we are motivated toward a resolution. In the exceptional case, things may change. But that change can seem as slow as evolution. This is the heart of the matter. There is no doubt that the thinking and rational human has evolved beyond the primal impulse of tribalism. Fear and misunderstanding, and irrational impulses still exist among us.

With each loss, we grieve. Illogical acts evade our common understanding. But as our society continues to reveal aspects of itself as something less than inclusive and more than fearful, we can not, and we should not be satisfied with solidarity. It becomes our responsibility to stand together and face tyranny, fear and prejudice, and intolerance. We must take the responsibility to evolve toward empathy.

Until we take a step toward activating our society against intolerance, we will continue to grieve for those of us in communities of every creed who suffer at the hands of violence.

Care for our communities. Stand against hate.

 

―Lonnie Graham, SFAI Board Chair