I have always been someone who finds inspiration in words.
Words are powerful.
Whether they’re in a book, a song, a speech, or a movie—I’ve found that words have the power to move people. They have the power to grab people’s attention and motivate them to make a difference.
Because of this, some of my most favorite quotes are the ones that inspire social justice.
Standing up for human rights is never an easy fight. There is always a pushback—there are always challenges.
For those days when the resistance is strong, here are 13 quotes to remind us why it’s always a fight worth continuing:
1. “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ~ Elie Wiesel
2. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
4. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
5. “It is one of the beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
6. “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
7. “Because we are free, we can never be indifferent to the fate of freedom elsewhere.” ~ Jimmy Carter
8. “It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” ~ Nelson Mandela
9. “Whenever one person stands up and says, ‘Wait a minute, this is wrong,’ it helps other people do the same.“ ~ Gloria Steinem
10. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” ~ Proverbs 31:8-9
11. “Striving for social justice is the most valuable thing to do in life.” ~ Albert Einstein
12. “We can learn to see each other, and see ourselves in each other, and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike.” ~ Maya Angelou
13. “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends.” ~ J. K. Rowling
Just one last thing that’s important to remember—these quotes, as powerful and inspiring as they are, are simply words on a page.
They are meant to encourage. They are meant to inspire.
They are meant to push us to stand up for the voices that are so often left unheard.
But at the end of the day, they are only words.
It’s what we do with them that matters.
In the words of Mark Twain: “Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often.”
Author: Stacey Johnston
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Nan Palmero