Our societies are changing rapidly. And some of these changes are unimpressive. We are designing an ecology to serve one species alone; humans, to the detriment of others. Decision-makers, both in government and private organizations make choices to favour their select few, while others suffer the consequences of being left out.
We need to change our ways. But as Einstein said, the same level of consciousness that created a problem cannot solve it. To lift our societies to a new level of consciousness, we need activists. Activism is about championing social, political, economic, and/or environmental change. Positive activism uses the energy of difference to inspire and change.
These positive activism quotes create awareness of pressing issues in our societies, and the need to take a stand. If we want to effect changes in our societies, then we all must be on board with positive activism.
21 Positive Activism Quotes
Henry Rollins (amazon) is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, actress, comedian, and activist. He is currently hosting a weekly KCRW radio show, a regular columnist for Rolling Stone Australia, and a regular columnist for LA Weekly. From 1981 to 1986, after performing in the short-lived band State of Alert, Rollins faced the California hardcore punk band Black Flag.
Rollins became an outspoken human rights activist for gay rights. In high school, classmates harassed one of Rollins' gay classmate until this student attempted suicide. Rollins cited this event as the key cause of his "anti-homophobia”. On his spoken word shows, Rollins often speaks about justice and encourages equality, regardless of sexuality.
We all need to look out and speak up for each other. Especially in the spaces where people recognize our voices above others.
Paul David Hewson, known as Bono, is an Irish singer-songwriter, venture capitalist, businessman and philanthropist. He is best known as U2's (amazon) lead vocalist and primary lyricist. We know Bono for his social justice activism, both through U2 and as an individual. He is particularly active in campaigning for Africa, co-founding DATA, EDUN, ONE Campaign, and Product Red. In pursuit of these causes, he participated in advantage concerts and met influential politicians.
Bono’s activism quote expresses his wish that after he’s gone, the people alive would have forgotten about his activism. And he hopes it is because all the problems he had to speak up on will no longer exist by then.
Michael Jay Feinstein is an American artist, pianist, music revivalist. He is a translator and an anthropologist and archivist for the Great American Songbook. He won a Drama Desk Special Award for American musical theater songs in 1988. Feinstein is also a multi-platinum, five-time Grammy-nominated recording artist. He currently serves as Artistic Director for Carmel, Indiana's Performing Arts Center.
For activism to be effective, we need to reach (and influence) the people who are speaking against what we believe in. Without that, there will be no change.
Sorvino is the daughter of Lorraine Davis' daughter, an actress turned drama therapist and veteran actor, Paul Sorvino. Her paternal family members were Italian immigrants.
Sorvino has been associated with Amnesty International since 2004 and received Amnesty International's Artist of Conscience Award in 2006. With this award, the organization recognizes those who have demonstrated long-standing philanthropic and humanist efforts. Sorvino was the U.N. Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking from 2009-2012, lobbying Congress to abolish human trafficking in Darfur.
Sorvino’s positive activism quote reminds us that action and not just speeches are necessary to effect change. Activism is, more importantly, a move for change for a group of people.
Petra Collins is an early 2010 prominent Canadian artist, photographer, fashion model, and director. Her photography uses a dreamlike approach, partially influenced by a female gaze approach. She is a professional Rookie photographer and Richard Kern's casting director.
As an activist and artist, Collins made waves in art and fashion worlds, expertly walking the line between insider and outsider, "It Girl" and renegade. She was a photographer, director, and model for Vogue.
Her positive activism quote reminds us that activism shouldn’t only be on social media, although we can’t downplay the importance of social media in activism. But we should take activism into real life to effect actual change.
DeRay Mckesson is an American activist, podcaster, and former school teacher. A supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, he was active in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland protests and social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram. Mckesson wrote for HuffPost and The Guardian. Mckesson and Johnetta Elzie, Brittany Packnett, and Samuel Sinyangwe launched Campaign Zero, a public forum to end police brutality.
Activism for marginalized people always puts you in the limelight. And it is easy for people to think it is being done just for the recognition when it is not. Activism is a tool for change and DeRay’s positive activism quote reminds us that being ‘seen’ is just the starting point.
Angie Thomas is an American YA author, best known for her The Hate U Give (2017). She released her second book, On the Come Up, on February 25, 2019 (both on amazon). In an interview with Publisher's Weekly, Thomas provides insight into her position as an activist saying, "I always saw writing as activism. If nothing else, books give us a glimpse of the life we may not have known about before; they can foster empathy. There's Black Lives Matter campaign, and Black Lives Matter organization, and I admire what both do”.
The goal of activism is to get people to think and make changes. It is important to know that we all can achieve this same goal in many different ways, and no particular channel of activism is better than another. You just have to find your own activism path.
Erin Brockovich is an American legal clerk, consumer advocate and environmental activist who, despite lacking legal education, was instrumental in building a case against California's Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in 1993. Brockovich is currently the president of Brockovich Research & Consultancy. She also works as a consultant for Girardi & Keese, Weitz & Luxenberg New York law firm focusing on personal injury claims for asbestos exposure, and Shine Lawyers, Australia.
Brockovich’s work reminds us that people need to let the authorities know that we can hold them responsible. Activism can be a tool for holding the authorities responsible.
Tracee Joy Silberstein, known as Tracee Ellis Ross, is an American actress, singer, and television host. Fans know her for leading roles in Girlfriends (2000–2008) and Black-ish (2014–present, both on amazon) TV series. Ross owns Pattern Beauty, a curly hair-care brand. She has also established herself as a powerful advocate, particularly for black girls' self-esteem in a series of TV specials, Black Girls Rock, and social media.
Ellis Ross shares that she is into compassionate activism, which is about opening up her heart to understand the other person’s point of view. As humans, we should be compassionate beings. So, in our activism, it is important to try to understand the other person’s point of view and try to find a balance.
Sue Monk Kidd was raised in Sylvester, Georgia, a small town that deeply influenced the writing of her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees (amazon). She graduated from Texas Christian University in 1970 and later studied creative writing at Emory University and Anderson College, as well as at Sewanee, Bread Loaf, and other conferences for authors. In 2016, TCU awarded a letter doctor honorary.
Empathy can fuel activism. Feeling what others are going through will make you support activism in any way you can. Whether by directly being involved or by funding a cause.
Marley Dias is an American activist. In 2015, when she was in middle school, she launched a campaign named # 1000BlackGirlBooks to collect 1,000 books for black children. Her group obtained over 9,000 books in a few months. They sent many of these books to Jamaica's children's book drive.
Dias' book drive focuses primarily on books where black girls are the main characters, not secondary or history. The campaign has highlighted the lack of diversity in children's literature.
To make critical lasting change in our societies, we need activism. Some things will just not change if we don’t speak up. The true source of change is activism. Sometimes, people don’t see the negative impact of some things until we speak up about it.
Sonita Alizadeh is an Afghan rapper and activist against forced marriages. Alizadeh released "Brides for Sale," a video in which she raps about daughters being married by their families. With the help of Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, an Iranian documentary filmmaker who documented her remarkable story in the film Sonita over three years, Alizadeh filmed the video to escape a marriage her parents were planning for her.
She did this knowing that it is illegal for women to sing publicly in Iran, where she lived. After releasing the video on YouTube, the Strongheart Group contacted Alizadeh and offered her a student visa and financial assistance to study in the United States of America, where she then relocated and resided.
In her positive activism quote, Alizadeh tells us that to be an activist, you have to find a cause to fight for, and find the medium you want to speak through. Alizadeh stands against child marriage and uses her music as a medium. There are different entertainment mediums for activism: music, art, and movies. Find your cause and your medium.
As long as we continue to live in an imperfect world, we should all have one or more causes that we stand for. Activism is important because it creates change. Change from individuals and event governmental bodies. If nobody speaks up about pressing matters, change just might never come.
Activism also helps your mental and emotional health. People become happier and get more satisfaction out of life when they come together as groups to improve society’s functioning or speak up for change.