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The world is changing: Six decades ago, when Sam Maloof was told to access a client’s home through the servant’s entrance, it was not unusual for the son of immigrants from the Middle East to be regarded as someone not quite worthy of respect in the eyes of the privileged. Issues of diversity, equality, inclusion, and accessibility had not yet entered mainstream awareness, and polite society didn’t yet talk about the many ways lines are drawn to stigmatize and exclude people based on the color of their skin.
Alfreda Maloof, who had worked as a teacher at the Indian Boarding School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, saw her own life transformed by cross-cultural experience. Working alongside the potter Maria Martinez and other Native American artists, Alfreda learned how the art of a master craftsperson speaks universally in every language, across cultures, without regard to race or ethnicity.  It was a lesson she would bring into her marriage to Sam.
Within a few years, furniture created in the workshop founded by Sam and Alfreda Maloof, would be displayed proudly in homes both humble and elite, commissioned for corporate boardrooms, and selected to inspire the faithful in houses of worship of several religions. Sam and Alfreda would be welcomed to the White House by President Ronald Reagan, and would come to count President Jimmy Carter among their friends.
But the Maloofs never forgot where they came from. Born of California, Sam and Alfreda understood opportunity as a force for good in the world. They knew a society that limits the possibilities of its people based on skin color, religion, national origin, gender or other attributes of identity, diminishes its collective capacity to dream, discover and build the future.
Given this history—and the fervently held values of our founders—the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts now stands in solidarity with those who protest against systemic racism and hate that affect black people disproportionately. Black Lives Matter. As we seek to uplift our community through art, craft and education, we commit ourselves to listen, advocate and share what we learn with others, across our differences, in pursuit of greater mutual understanding.  We seek diversity. We welcome collaboration. We celebrate change for the better.
In the language of the Tongva people, upon whose ancestral lands the diverse people of contemporary California live, “Wehee’am.” We are together. We are with you.
Jim Rawitsch
Executive Director
Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts

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