20 Inspirational Audre Lorde Quotes Remind Us To SPEAK UP!

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Taking activism to new heights.

If you've ever heard of Audre Lorde, you know she accomplished a whole lot, but if you've never heard of her, you must learn of who this woman was: the epitome of genius, a mixture of minorities.


Born in Harlem, she had a diverse upbringing, her parents hailing originally from Grenada. Throughout her life, she experienced many hardships, including struggling to develop a relationship with her parents as the economy recovered from the Great Depression, and she was affected by the distrust of her own mother, who believed that Audre's darker skin was "suspicious".

Later in life, Audre promoted change, spoke out against civil injustices, and sent messages to others about doing the same — most of which through her writing. In fact, she did all types of pieces — fiction, nonfiction, poetry.

She wrote poetry as well as novels and essays — and she was an activist, an outspoken feminist and lesbian, during even more hostile times than now.

She represented women from the very beginning. She encouraged women to use their power and raise their voices in order to promote change. She spoke out about how important it is for all of us to be ourselves without fear of judgment or, worse, persecution.

As a social rights activist, much of her opinionated self was shown in her writings, whether in school or after graduation. In her later years, she continued to work in order to fight for women's rights. She also protested for African-American rights and had a major role protesting during the civil rights movement. The prime era in which she protested had to be the 60s.

To this day, there is still so much work to be done, both domestically and internationally. So to help inspire, we've picked out some of our favorite Audre Lorde quotes to remind us that staying silent is NOT the answer.

Use these inspirational quotes by Audre Lorde to help you find the courage to stand up for your beliefs and for others' rights, and to continue the fight.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, we’ve got the best quotes to share and savor. For quotes from the most inspiring celebs, activists, and poets, look no further! You might even find the quote that motivates the best parts of your life (and love!) forever.

"When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak."

"Your silence will not protect you."

"But the question is a matter of the survival and the teaching. That's what our work comes down to. No matter where we key into it, it's the same work, just different pieces of ourselves doing it."

"I am deliberate and afraid of nothing."

"I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't."

"The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations that we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us."

"Revolution is not a one-time event."

"I do not want to be tolerated, or misnamed. I want to be recognized."

"When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."

"My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences."

"Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now."

"As we get in touch with the things that we feel are intolerable, in our lives, they become more and more intolerable. If we just once dealt with how much we hate most of what we do, there would be no holding us back from changing it. This is true with any kind of movement. This is the way in which the philosopher/Queen, the poet-warrior leads."

"We cannot allow our fear of anger to deflect us nor seduce us into settling for anything less than the hard work of excavating honesty."

"What I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid?"

"The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of the differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken."

"The speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never had realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don't miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking."


"If I cannot air this pain and alter it, I will surely die of it. That's the beginning of social protest."

"What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence."

"The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference."

"For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us."