In honour of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, George Floyd and the countless others whose lives were taken unjustly – and on reflection of the many injustices inflicted on black, brown and people of colour (individuals such as Christian Cooper who was the subject of racial weaponisation and discrimination when white woman Amy Cooper (no relation) called the police and was filmed lying about his threats of violence after refusing to leash her dog in Central Park upon request despite signs clearly stating this) we thought we’d curate this list of quotes to help you move forward in your racial justice efforts.
Please don’t just read these quotes. Make it a part of your ongoing anti-racism work. Absorb them. Aim to understand them. Implement them. Practice them. Talk about them. Share them.
For all our sakes.
1. “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” — Angela Y. Davis
2. “Equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you. It’s not pie.” — Unknown
3. “White feelings should never be held in higher regard than black lives.” — Rachel Cargle
4. “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.” — Ijeoma Oluo
5. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
6. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” — Desmond Tutu
7. “I don’t want your love and light if it doesn’t come with solidarity and action. I have no interest in passive empathy.” — Rachel Cargle
8. “It is white people’s responsibility to be less fragile; people of color don’t need to twist themselves into knots trying to navigate us as painlessly as possible.” — Robin DiAngelo, author of ‘White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism‘
9. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
10. “Something is terribly wrong if the pain, sorrow and outrage of a people makes you more uncomfortable than murder itself.” — Rupi Kaur
11. “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” — Elie Wiesel
12. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
13. “Anti-racism work is not self-improvement work for white people. It doesn’t end when white people feel better about what they’ve done. It ends when Black people are staying alive and they have their liberation.” — Rachel Cargle
14. “It is not enough to be quietly non-racist, now is the time to be vocally anti-racist.” — Unknown
15. “If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” — Malcolm X
16. “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” — Angela Y. Davis
17. “I say often when teaching on American history: Your heroes are not my heroes. The founding father are a solid example of this. You lauded Thomas Jefferson, the man who penned “All men are created equal” was indeed, a slave owner himself. He is quoted in his Notes on the State of Virginia saying: “The blacks whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstance, are inferior to the whites in the endowments of both mind and body.” — Rachel Cargle
18. “Until the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned – everywhere is war.” — Bob Marley
19. “The new racism is to deny that racism exists.” — Unknown
20. “All our silences in the face of racist assault are acts of complicity.” — Bell Hooks
21. “Anti-racism is not an identity or a checklist; it’s a practice.” — Andrea Ranae
22. “We wouldn’t have to have Black Lives Matter if we hadn’t had 300 years of black lives don’t matter.” — Unknown
23. “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
24. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” — Nelson Mandela
25. “America is mad at black people for saying ‘Black Lives Matter’. We mad for having to say it at all.” — Unknown
26. “Economic inequity, political oppression, and historical wealth from slavery and ethnic cleansing are inseparable from the ruin of soil, forests, and water. All arise from structures and daily practices of exploitation and waste, supremacy and violence. Sustainability will sustain nothing without challenging and transforming power and privilege.” – Jonathan McRay
27. “I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.” – Desmond Tutu
28. “Revolution is not a one-time event.” – Audre Lorde
29. “If you are calling for an end to this unrest… but you are not calling for the end to the conditions that created the unrest, you are a hypocrite.” — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Have any other favourite quotes that deserve to be on this list? Feel free to share in the comments below.
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