In this blog post, we will explain what the term social justice means. You will also be able to read over 135 social justice quotes to understand better the concept.
What is Social Justice?
The term social justice, coined by the priest Luigi Taparelli in 1840, refers to the way in which justice is applied in a society in relation to the social classes existing in it. In essence, it refers to the concept that everyone must have the same economic, political and social rights and opportunities.
For the followers of social justice, the most important role of the state is to ensure the welfare and respect of the rights of its citizens, regardless of the social class to which they belong.
Basically, social justice is based mainly on religion. Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam – all these religious movements contain elements that are found in the framework of social justice.
That is why, for a long time, social justice has been part of the religious teachings. Its detachment from religion and its transformation into a secular concept took place in the second half of the twentieth century, and is due to the philosopher John Rawls.
Rawls, through his works “Theory of Justice” and “Political Liberalism”, considerably increased the popularity of this concept. According to Rawls, a society is fair if it adheres to three principles: the first is to guarantee fundamental freedoms for all members of society, the second is equal opportunities for all citizens, and the third is to preserve those inequalities that can benefit the disadvantaged.
Social justice has given rise to various social movements, such as the movement for social justice in the field of health care provision, which aims to ensure access to affordable healthcare.
The first decade of the 21st century has proved to be a good one for the spread of the concept of social justice. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared February 20 as World Social Justice Day, and in 2008, the International Labor Organization adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization.
According to it, all Member States of the Organization must implement policies based on the strategic objectives of the ILO (employment, social protection, social dialogue and the right to work), emphasizing a comprehensive and integrated approach to them.
Social justice has been, is and will continue to be an important factor in influencing public policies around the world.
20 Social Justice Quotes
1.“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” -Audre Lorde
2. “We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose.” -Archbishop Desmond Tutu
3. “When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?” -Eleanor Roosevelt
4. “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”- Paulo Freire
5. “People must take a modicum of public responsibility for each other even if they have no ties to each other.” -Jane Jacobs
6. “We have a world to conquer…one person at a time…starting with ourselves.” -Nikki Giovanni
7. “We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When inspiration calls: Go to where it leads
8. “It is not enough to be compassionate – you must act.”- His Holiness The Dalai Lama
9. “The people are the only ones capable of transforming society.”- Rigoberta Menchu
10. “Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good; try to use ordinary situations.”- Jean Paul Richter
11. “There will be no Homeland Security until we realize that the entire planet is our homeland. Every sentient being in the world must feel secure.” -John Perkins
12. “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” -Helen Keller
13. “Take your easy tears somewhere else. Tell yourself none of this ever had to happen. And then go make it stop. With whatever breath you have left. Grief is a sword or it is nothing.” -Paul Monette
14. “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.” -Reinhold Neibuhr
15. “During times of universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” -George Orwell
16. “To be human, at the most profound level, is to encounter honestly the inescapable circumstances that constrain us, yet muster the courage to struggle compassionately for our own unique individualities and for more democratic and free societies.” -Cornel West
17.”If you are trying to transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up.” -Adrienne Rich
18. “Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two.” -Octavio Paz
19. “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.” -Elie Wiesel
20. “The more you move, the stronger you’ll grow….” -Ha Jin
25 Social Justice Quotes
- “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.” ― Voltaire
- “If you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.” ― Ernesto Che Guevara
- “The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.” ― Marcus Garvey
- “For all those that have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question.” ― N.K. Jemisin
- “Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of the Empire that are strung across the globe. ” ― Arundhati Roy
- “To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.” ― Pearl S. Buck
- “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
- “It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
- “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.” ― Dorothy Day
- “I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is that they must change if they are to get better.” ― Georg Lichtenberg
- “Once you realize that trickle-down economics does not work, you will see the excessive tax cuts for the rich as what they are — a simple upward redistribution of income, rather than a way to make all of us richer, as we were told.” ― Ha-Joon Chang
- “I think each village was meant to feel pity for its own sick and poor whom it can help and I doubt if it is the duty of any private person to fix his mind on ills which he cannot help. This may even become an escape from the works of charity we really can do to those we know. God may call any one of us to respond to some far away problem or support those who have been so called. But we are finite and he will not call us everywhere or to support every worthy cause. And real needs are not far from us.” ― C.S. Lewis
- “Genuine equality means not treating everyone the same, but attending equally to everyone’s different needs.” ― Terry Eagleton
- “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.
- “In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice…, the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
- “Denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good.” ― Philip Gourevitch
- “The ugliest thing in America is greed, the lust for power and domination, the lunatic ideology of perpetual Growth – with a capital G. ‘Progress’ in our nation has for too long been confused with ‘Growth’; I see the two as different, almost incompatible, since progress means, or should mean, change for the better – toward social justice, a livable and open world, equal opportunity and affirmative action for all forms of life. And I mean all forms, not merely the human. The grizzly, the wolf, the rattlesnake, the condor, the coyote, the crocodile, whatever, each and every species has as much right to be here as we do.” ― Edward Abbey
- “If you can do nothing else, do whatever is in your power to make the people in your life feel completely unashamed of who they are.” ― Sam Killermann
- “When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.” ― Ijeoma Oluo
- “When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.” ― Paul Hawken
- “An educator should consider that he has failed in his job if he has not succeeded in instilling some trace of a divine dissatisfaction with our miserable social environment. ” ― Anthony Standen
- “I am certain, however, that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.” ― F.A. Hayek
- “Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages.” ― Angela Davis
- “And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? … It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
- “Our freedoms are vanishing. If you do not get active to take a stand now against all that is wrong while we still can, then maybe one of your children may elect to do so in the future, when it will be far more riskier — and much, much harder.” ― Suzy Kassem
35 Social Justice Quotes
- “The world howls for social justice, but when it comes to social responsibility, you sometimes can’t even hear crickets chirping.” ― Dean Koontz
- “The opposite of poverty is not wealth. In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.” ― Bryan Stevenson
- “We live in a system that espouses merit, equality, and a level playing field, but exalts those with wealth, power, and celebrity, however gained.” ― Derrick Bell
- “There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.” ― bell hooks
- “The point is not that Jesus was a good guy who accepted everybody, and thus we should do the same (though that would be good). Rather, his teachings and behavior reflect an alternative social vision. Jesus was not talking about how to be good and how to behave within the framework of a domination system. He was a critic of the domination system itself.” ― Marcus J. Borg
- “Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, Right Reverends and Wrong Reverends of every order. Dead, men and women, born with Heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us every day.” ― Charles Dickens
- “Peace is the fruit of love, a love that is also justice. But to grow in love requires work — hard work. And it can bring pain because it implies loss — loss of the certitudes, comforts, and hurts that shelter and define us.” ― Jean Vanier
- “In the unceasing ebb and flow of justice and oppression we must all dig channels as best we may, that at the propitious moment somewhat of the swelling tide may be conducted to the barren places of life.” ― Jane Addams
- “Power in the hands of the reformer is no less potentially corrupting than in the hands of the oppressor.” ― Derrick Bell
- “If your social consciousness seems stuck in 1975, 2014 is gonna be a rough ride.” ― John Scalzi
- “The widely accepted assertion that, only if you let markets be will everyone be paid correctly and thus fairly, according to his worth, is a myth. Only when we part with this myth and grasp the political nature of the market and the collective nature of individual productivity will we be able to build a more just society in which historical legacies and collective actions, and not just individual talents and efforts, are properly taken into account in deciding how to reward people.” ― Ha-Joon Chang
- “If there’s a place for tolerance in racial healing, perhaps it has to do with tolerating my own feelings of discomfort that arise when a person, of any color, expresses emotion not welcome in the culture of niceness. It also has to do with tolerating my own feelings of shame, humiliation, regret, anger, and fear so I can engage, not run. For me, tolerance is not about others, it’s about accepting my own uncomfortable emotions as I adjust to a changing view of myself as imperfect and vulnerable. As human.”― Debby Irving
- “We have got some very big problems confronting us and let us not make any mistake about it, human history in the future is fraught with tragedy … It’s only through people making a stand against that tragedy and being doggedly optimistic that we are going to win through. If you look at the plight of the human race it could well tip you into despair, so you have to be very strong.” ― Robert James Brown
- “When individuals and communities do not govern self, they risk being ruled by external forces that care less about the well-being of the village.” ― T.F. Hodge
- “It’s not loving a man that makes life harder for gay guys, it’s homophobia. It’s not the color of their skin that makes life harder for people of color; it’s racism. It’s not having vaginas that makes life harder for women, it’s sexism. And it’s ageism, far more than the passage of time, that makes growing older harder for all of us.” ― Ashton Applewhite
- “Apathy is not compatible with love” ― Simon Tam
- “Until our world decides that every human matters, that everyone has a right to food and safety and freedom and healthcare and equality, it is the obligation of those privileged to have food and safety and freedom and healthcare and equality to fight tirelessly for those who do not.” ― L.R. Knost
- “It’s not about punishment,” pressed Rob, “it’s about morality and social conscience, it’s about standing up for what’s right versus moral laziness, it’s about courage versus cowardice.” ― Arun D. Ellis
- “Don’t sit around and wait for the perfect opportunity to come along —find something and make it an opportunity.” ― Cecile Richards
- “Had I glimpsed just a little of the suffering I would witness and the heartbreak I would endure, I would have fled in the other direction…But I could not foresee any of these things…And many years later, with tears in my eyes, I remembered my decision to follow this God no matter what the cost.” ― Daniel Walker
- “They had no previous connection whatsoever with Connemara; but they saw connections where others who should have seen them simply looked the other way.” – Joseph O’Connor
- “There is a great new work before us, which is to replace with true knowledge the ignorance that has destroyed human minds. We will construct unity in a world [which] has been brutally torn apart by false divisions of race, religion, gender, nationality, and age. We will heal with unconditional love those souls whose hearts have been disfigured by hatred and loneliness.” ― Aberjhani
- “It is difficult for men to measure the enormous extent of social discrimination that seems insignificant form the outside and whose moral and intellectual repercussions are so deep in woman that they appear to spring from an original nature. The man most sympathetic to women never knows her concrete situation fully.” ― Simone de Beauvoir
- “Our minds must be as ready to move as capital is, to trace its paths and to imagine alternative destinations.” ― Chandra Talpade Mohanty
- “I want it said loudly and clearly that we can define racism in many ways, but it is, in my opinion, intellectually disingenuous to define it in a way that trivializes the role that racial hatred plays. Certainly, not all racism is hate-driven, but to ignore the connection between racial hate and racism is to reduce the concept of racism to a useless theoretical abstraction.” ― David Pilgrim
- “Crack had a social logic to it, a specific kind of reasoning that drew from a vast well of common experience for its symbolic resonance. Crack stood for pain and power, chaos and order, the truth behind the lie. Crack was a sociolegal logic grounded in blood.” ― Dimitri A. Bogazianos
- “The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself.” ― Jane Addams
- “And a human being whose life is nurtured in an advantage which has accrued from the disadvantage of other human beings, and who prefers that this should remain as it is, is a human being by definition only, having much more in common with the bedbug, the tapeworm, the cancer, and the scavengers of the deep sea.” ― James Agee
- “No man can write who is not first a humanitarian” ― William Faulkner
- “True peace can rarely be imposed from the outside; it must be born within and between communities through meetings and dialogue and then carried outward.” ― Jean Vanier
- “Anarchists are mouthpieces of a declining stratum of society; when they work themselves into a state of righteous indignation demanding ‘rights’, ‘justice’, ‘equal rights’, they are just acting under the pressure of their own lack of culture, which has no way of grasping why they really suffer, or what they lack in life.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
- “We seek in one another the assurance that there is just one correct interpretation of the world, that everything is so simple that anybody can see it unless they’re malicious or stupid or willfully ignorant; and we punish one another for proving with our differing conclusions that the truth is not that easy. We think we must suppress dissension to present the unified front we need to gain power over our enemies. But there are pro-life Democrats, pro-choice Christians, feminists who love their families, and conservatives who care about poor people.” ― Alisa Harris
- “It was around this time that I started thinking about how skin color defined class. The cowboy movies that fueled the goodness of ‘White’ reinforced attaching ‘darkness’ to a class. I finally took notice that the crayon color called ‘flesh’ did not match mine.” ― Luis Quiros
- “Between the Great Depression and the 1970s, private business was viewed with suspicion even in most capitalist economies.
Businesses were, so the story goes, seen as anti-social agents whose profit-seeking needed to be restrained for other, supposedly loftier, goals, such as justice, social harmony, protection of the weak and even national glory.” ― Ha-Joon Chang
- “These questions are difficult. The answers are not obvious, and so there should be some pausing, some angst, some honest uncertainty as people struggle to decide the best course of action. But I see none of this in the press releases and reports I read. Instead I see both sides telling us that to be uncertain, to dialogue instead of rail, is to betray the cause.” ― Alisa Harris
45 Social Justice Quotes
- “The more ardently I see humanity as a glorious abstract that must conform to my ideal of how the world should be, the harder it is for me to love the person on the other side of the picket line who is holding up progress. I can love the downtrodden in the abstract, but as I shivered under the bridge that night with Jorge, I realized that it’s harder to love the illegal immigrant with the bottle-slashed face and the body unwashed for weeks, the workers gathering to eat day-old bread and chicken and rice out of foam containers, the crowd of thousands clamoring for bread and fish and healing, the unclean woman hoping to touch the hem of the Savior’s robe.” ― Alisa Harris
- “Prison is, simply put, the bottom rung of the welfare ladder.” ― Stephen Reid
- “Some critics will counter that poverty is a choice made by those that are lazy or who lack the desire to change their lives for the better. I agree that poverty is a choice. But that choice is not made by the people who live under its oppressive effects. Rather, the choice is ours. It’s the choice of government that represents our priorities and allocates our investments. It’s a choice reinforced by the companies we patronize and the organizations we support.” ― Wes Moore
- “… the criminal justice system affects more than the men whose lives are irrevocably changed when they encounter the system.” ― Wes Moore
- “Our society’s insistence on limiting help to those who “deserve it,” as indicated by their status in the labor market, has a profound impact on the capacity of those living in deep poverty to escape … we also cannot defend the inhumane debate about who are the deserving versus the undeserving poor.” ― Wes Moore
- “There are many […] sites across the United States, entire landscapes that have been left to rot after they were no longer useful to frackers, miners, and drillers. It’s a lot like how this culture treats people. It’s certainly how we have been trained to treat our stuff – use it once, or until it breaks, then throw it away and buy some more. It’s similar to what has been done to so many workers in the neoliberal period: they are used up and then abandoned to addiction and despair. It’s what the entire carceral state is about: locking up huge sectors of the population who are more economically valuable as prison laborers and numbers on the spreadsheet of a private prison than they are as free workers.” ― Naomi Klein
- “The stigma and lifelong negative bias that results from even a fleeting encounter with the criminal justice system is absolutely life changing.” ― Wes Moore,
- “(his) actions also underscore the limits of symbolic gestures toward social justice that we also often see in the world of philanthropy. We often pay homage to what needs to change and attempt half measures, but we rarely challenge our own complicity in the structural inequities.” ― Wes Moore
- “The truth is that our individual efforts are important but insufficient. Our collective action — the leaders we elect, the institutions administered in the name of the People, the other stanchions at the table — offers an opportunity for bigger, longer-lasting action.” ― Wes Moore
- “Throw the bums out” and “Drain the swamp” are popular political slogans. But it’s not enough to move people around in a bureaucracy if you don’t change the underlying values and let those values reshape tactics and procedures.” ― Wes Moore
- “Our country has a long history, and for much of it the intentional policy of the United States was to create hierarchies of people based on their class, race, and gender.” ― Wes Moore
- “… our fates are profoundly intertwined. We have to take care of one another.” ― Wes Moore
- “Poverty is so concentrated because it is generational and, research shows, created with relentless intention.” ― Wes Moore
- “You have very little morally persuasive power with people who can feel your underlying contempt” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
- “Until we ingratiate this most valuable resource that society has—feminine energy—we will not be able to turn the tide from violence to reconciliation or from dishonesty to integrity.” ― Suzanne F. Stevens
- “We have been trained to see our issues in silos; they never belonged there.” ― Naomi Klein
- “The world is living through a time of great pain but great pain is always a motivator for exosocial expansion. The tearing of endogroup bonds and former euphoric connections results in a global need to create new connections. We have an opportunity to create those connections with discovery, with creation and with each other, through altruistic and power-free interactions.” ― Heather Marsh
- “Reconciliation: Our Greatest Challenge–Our Only Hope.” ― Curtiss Paul DeYoung
- “Most climate scientists or green politicians keep on flying around the world, eating meat and dairy. Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.” ― Greta Thunberg
- “Authenticity is an act of social justice.” ― Kierra C.T. Banks
- “History teaches us about who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.
I have always thought of history as a prophylactic against extreme social disorders. If we are aware of the conditions in which such disorders arise, and the way people respond to them, we can better avoid falling victim to their influences. We can better remain true to our moral decency, and to our ideals of liberty and justice. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” ― Chris Ernest Nelson
- “. . . no human being would wish to trade places with nonhuman animals in factory farms or laboratories. . . . The legal status of women and nonwhite racialized minorities has improved markedly in the past fifty years; matters have grown considerably worse for nonhuman animals.” ― Lisa Kemmerer
- “The light of kindness and goodness in our heart is ultimately what we must tap into. We do not so much “fight the darkness (of hate and bigotry)” as we illuminate it when we unite our own inner light with the inner light shining in our fellow brothers and sisters” ― Aimee Ginsburg Bikel
- “In Waquant’s words: “Racial division was a consequence, not a precondition of slavery, but once it was instituted it became detached from its initial function and acquired a social potency all its own.” After the death of slavery, the idea of race lived on” ― Michelle Alexander
- “The world peace and security it’s crucial and it’s of great concern. The fight against terrorists and terrorism can only be won when we fight aggressively against injustice and against human rights abuses across the globe. The world leaders and the UN must be seen standing firm for justice and for humanity. Then, and only then, we will make a significant progress with the fight. If not, it will only remain an illusionary dream.” ― Nurudeen Ushawu
- “The world`s superior power would have done a big favor to the world and to humanity if they could practice what they preach and do the right thing, and stop fighting, hurting and turning the other cheek.” ― Nurudeen Ushawu
- “It takes people with moral courage, high integrity and credibility that are able to stand for the cause of justice and fight against injustice in society.” ― Nurudeen Ushawu
- “Slap me when we’re alone, nothing to me—
you’ve simply hurt a part of my body.
Slap me in front of crowd, great thing to me—
you just have trampled on my dignity.” ― Rodolfo Martin Vitangcol
- “In the jungle, how so careful we were—
predators might just be lurking somewhere.
No different from what we’re in the world—
predators just abound in any mold!” ― Rodolfo Martin Vitangcol
- “A girl had been murdered so brutally,
the shocked nation dangled a large bounty.
The police, finding the perk so juicy,
produced a fall guy to get the money.
The fall guy succumbed to death penalty,
as the girl’s true killers got off scot-free.
There two murders to be solved now, indeed:
“The girl’s and the fall guy’s murder by greed.” ― Rodolfo Martin Vitangcol
- “Nothing about me truly matters unless I matter to others. –Joan Treppa, social justice advocate” ― Joan Treppa
- “We face so many overlapping and intersecting crises that we can’t afford to fix them one at a time. We need integrated solutions, solutions that radically bring down emissions while creating huge numbers of good, unionized jobs and delivering meaningful justice to those who have been most abused and excluded under the current extractive economy.” ― Naomi Klein
- “There is one more salient feature of neoliberalism that is essential in identifying it in the wild: fake social progressivism. This is one of its most sinister traits, because it helps unjust institutions appear benevolent and forward-thinking… You’ll notice that tendency over and over; an institution that is inherently hierarchical and unjust tries to defuse criticisms through superficial changes. A corporation, for instance, will not increase the rights of its ordinary workers or eliminate racial and gender pay gaps, but it might introduce racial and gender diversity on its board of directors.” ― Nathan J. Robinson
- “Ironically, the [monopolistic] concentration of capital means that one of the great fears about socialism – that decisions about what to sell would be made by small, unelected groups of bureaucrats, rather than determined by competition – is increasingly coming true under capitalism.” ― Nathan J. Robinson,
- “The free market is not necessarily free. Whether people are free depends not just on whether they own themselves, but whether others have power over them in practice.” ― Nathan J. Robinson
- “Here, we can see why the authoritarian ‘socialist’ regimes of the twentieth century did not deserve to be called socialist at all. In the Soviet Union, workers had very limited control over their workplaces. They were told what to do by party functionaries. Socialism does not mean control by the government, it means control by the people, and if the government is not responsive to the will of the people, it’s ‘socialistic’ in the same way that Kim Jong-Un’s Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is ‘democratic.’ This is also why, while I and many others use the term democratic socialism to draw a distinction between our ideas and the hideous so-called socialism implemented under Joseph Stalin, ultimately the term should be redundant. Socialism is a term for economic democracy, so an undemocratic system doesn’t deserve to claim the name.” ― Nathan J. Robinson
- “A commitment to expanding democracy is at the core of all good socialist thinking. Democracy is the principle that people ought to have a say over decisions that affect them, and that they should be in control of their own lives rather than being subjected to the wishes of powerful economic and political elites.” ― Nathan J. Robinson
- “When governments talk of truth and reconciliation, and then push unwanted infrastructure projects, please remember this: There can be no truth unless we admit to the ‘why’ behind centuries of abuse and land theft. And there can be no reconciliation when the crime is still in progress.
Only when we have the courage to tell the truth about our old stories will the new stories arrive to guide us. Stories that recognize that the natural world and all its inhabitants have limits. Stories that teach us how to care for each other and regenerate life within those limits. Stories that put an end to the myth of endlessness once and for all.” ― Naomi Klein
- “The stories we tell about who we are as a nation, and the values that define us, are not fixed. They change as facts change. They change as the balance of power in society changes. Which is why regular people, not just governments, need to be active participants in this process of retelling and reimagining our collective stories, symbols, and histories.” ― Naomi Klein
- “Sometimes justice needs obstructing when it ain’t just.” ― Neal Shusterman
- “Part of the core socialist commitment involves insisting on pressing forward even when you’re being told your goals are unachievable.” ― Nathan J. Robinson
- “The truth is: political reality changes quickly, so it’s best to pick the things you want to see happen, and do your best to try to make them happen.” ― Nathan J. Robinson
- “The better news is that as we transform how we generate energy, how we move ourselves around, how we grow our food and how we live in cities, we have a historic opportunity to build a society that is fairer on every front, and where everyone is valued. Here’s how we do it. We make sure that, wherever possible, our renewable energy comes from community-controlled providers and cooperatives, so that decisions about land use are made democratically and profits from energy production are used to pay for much-needed services.” ― Naomi Klein
- “The bad things that happen to us don’t define us. It’s just important sometimes that people understand where we’re coming from.” ― Bryan Stevenson
- “And when they spy on us let them discover us loving” ― Alice Walker
50 Social Justice Quotes
- “I live for the moments I dare to be me in spite of all that I “should” be.” ― Kierra C.T. Banks
- “The point here is not that emissions don’t matter. It is a call for a shift in priorities. On the policy level, we need to shift toward protecting and healing ecosystems on every level, especially the local. On a cultural level, we need to reintegrate human life with the rest of life, and bring ecological principles to bear on social healing. On the level of strategy and thought, we need to shift the narrative toward life, love, place, and participation. Even if we abandoned the emissions narrative, if we do these things emissions will surely fall as well.” ― Charles Eisenstein
- “Here, poverty in the United States is a choice. Stagnant middle-class incomes are a choice. Technology-fueled mass unemployment is a choice. Racism is a choice. The patriarchy is a choice. This is not to discount how deeply entrenched existing policies, interests, and tendencies are – but to recognize that while they might be entrenched, they are not immutable.” ― Annie Lowrey
- “Selflessness was a lonely world” ― Mala Naidoo
- “Lasting social and cultural change is spread by ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” ― Eve Ensler
- “…the narratives we tell to justify a single set of laws and stakes are inherently unjust.” ― James Williams
- “But what’s worse is that we have been taught and retaught the Golden Rule so many times that we internally justify this method of behavior as invincible, despite the fact that it fails constantly. We believe that our intentions are more important than the outcomes of our actions, because ‘it’s the thought that counts,’ right?” ― Sam Killermann
- “Black feminist thought and practice respond to a fundamental contradiction of U.S. society. On the one hand, democratic promises of individual freedom, equality under the law, and social justice are made to all American citizens. Yet on the other hand, the reality of differential group treatment based on race, class, gender, sexuality, and citizenship status persists. Groups organized around race, class, and gender in and of themselves are not inherently a problem. However, when African-Americans, poor people, women, and other groups discriminated against see little hope for group-based advancement, this situation constitutes social injustice.” ― Patricia Hill Collins
- “The right way to do any social work is to work until you’re not needed anymore.” ― Rose George
- “The politicians throw dirt at each other, the citizens throw dirt at the politicians, so everybody is living in dirt. If you want things to change, then stop throwing dirt and act, whether you are a politician, a civil servant or a civilian.” ― Abhijit Naskar
- “Furthermore, a serious distortion of statesmanship occurs. Year by year, the statesman’s time is increasingly devoted to a growing subset of misfits and neurotics, supposedly “oppressed” by an unfair social system which must be rectified. Little by little, the “oppressed” become the state’s chief preoccupation, eclipsing the traditional tasks of statesmanship. The system no longer justifies itself in religious or historical terms, but on egalitarian grounds, in terms of “fairness” or “social justice.” What actually happens, overall, is that greater and greater demands are placed upon the productive citizen to provide for the unproductive.” ― J.R.Nyquist
- “Negroes were constantly being arrested in the city, for crimes they committed and for crimes they did not, for rudeness or talking back or looking at a white woman, for being in the wrong neighborhood or being suspected of being in the vicinity of the wrong neighborhood. Upon conviction, many of these men were, in the words of one historian, “literally sold to the highest bidders.” Convicts were much in demand as workers, and the state, not the convict, got the wage.” ― Stephen L. Carter
- “If we don’t stand up for others when they’re persecuted, we lose the right to complain when it’s done to us.” ― David Steinman
- “Fear, by definition, is the feeling caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or pose a threat.” ― Terence Lester
- “Jesus knew that addressing inner spiritual poverty brought the greatest type of freedom.” ― Terence Lester
- “The charges of ‘white privilege’ or ‘rape apologist’ are thrown around only because we no longer accuse people of being witches or communists when we wish to destroy them.” ― Kevin D. Williamson
- “Anger occurs from injustices against us.” ― Maria Karvouni
- “The activist path is not easy, but it is the only reasonable path for those who desire change.” ― Lisa Kemmerer
- “Oppressions are by definition linked–linked by common ideologies, by institutional forces, and by socialization that makes oppressions normative and invisible.” ― Lisa Kemmerer
- “Many social justice activists–many feminists–continue to work against one form of oppression while feeding the flames of another, without noticing that the blow torch behind the flames must be turned off before we can have any hope of putting out the resultant fires.” ― Lisa Kemmerer
- “No individual or species is privileged in the world of nature: All eat and are eaten; all become sick and die in their turn. Humans are part of an interconnected continuum of life.” ― Lisa Kemmerer
- “It is increasingly difficult for social justice activists to advocate – with a clear conscience – for women, the poor, or immigrants while eating other animals or consuming the nursing milk of cattle. Animal activists have already begun to effectively expose the links of oppression across species.” ― Lisa Kemmerer
- “It is increasingly difficult for social justice activists to advocate – with a clear conscience – for women, the poor, or immigrants while eating other animals or consuming the nursing milk of cattle. Animal activists are exposing the links that connect the oppression of nonhuman animals with human oppression.” ― Lisa Kemmerer
- “Those who suggest that individual animals do not matter in light of larger ecological problems, fail to realize that speciesism and ecological devastation are interconnected.” ― Lisa Kemmerer
- “All human beings are systematically socialized to oppress cattle, chickens, snakes, mice, dogs, and all other nonhuman individuals. After the fashion of Sojourner Truth, might cows and chickens ask: “Ain’t I a female, too?” And would not dogs and snakes ask, “Ain’t I a living being, too?” ― Lisa Kemmerer
- “You have to get over the fear of facing the worst in yourself. You should instead fear unexamined racism. Fear the thought that right now, you could be contributing to the oppression of others and you don’t know it. But do not fear those who bring that oppression to light. Do not fear the opportunity to do better.” ― Ijeoma Oluo
- “The realization of dreams, like every battle for freedom, has always required compromise to one degree or another. When the result of a concession, however, is the mutilation of your soul or the cancellation of someone else’s future, then it may be said the desired goal was corrupted or destroyed rather than attained.” ― Aberjhani
- “Protest is telling the truth in public. Sometimes protest is telling the truth to a public that isn’t quite ready to hear it. Protest is, in its own way, storytelling. We use our bodies, our words, our art, and our sounds both to tell the truth about the pain that we endure and to demand the justice that we know is possible. It is meant to build and to force a response.” ― DeRay Mckesson
- “To me, one quality of disability justice culture is that it is simultaneously beautiful and practical. Poetry and dance are as valuable as a blog post about access hacks – because they’re equally important and interdependent.” ― Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
- “The theory of policing is quite far from the reality of policing. For us, at least, that is.” ― DeRay Mckesson
- “While I am prepared to bear with the imperfections and shortcomings of the society in which I may be destined to labour, I feel I should not consent to live in a society which cherishes wrong ideals, or a society which, having right ideals, will not consent to bring its social life into conformity with those ideals.” ― B.R. Ambedkar
- “There’s a double standard to protest in America. Something is different for black people who should dare to ask questions, and further, for those who protest in blackness. Protest in and by black bodies is never deemed legitimate, never deemed worthy of engagement. It seems that we have simply not earned our grievance, our grievance is illegitimate – we do not deserve sympathy or, ultimately, justice.” ― DeRay Mckesson
- “As the brilliant sunset cools to gray, I vow my anger over blatant discrimination will not cool. As these rocks stay steady through season changes and time, so I will remain steady. I will not be silent. I will not let this go.” ― Stephanie Morrill
- “As Jason Mogus has written, organizing is the act of building power; mobilizing is the act of spending the power you’ve built.” ― DeRay Mckesson
- “In fighting to help this country, this world. To be one that is worthy of the beauty of your life, you will undoubtedly experience pain – the normal pain of life and the pain of struggle. But pain is not who you are. You are, and have always been, more than your pain.” ― DeRay Mckesson
- “The Margaret Thatcher syndrome, that is, the woman who achieves seniority, but refuses any gender identification and indeed whose policies harmed many women, highlights that gender sensitivity is more significant in leading change than the biological sex of post-holders.” ― Louise Morley
- “If no one takes a stand, a stand won’t be taken.” ― Courtney Hargrave
- “Language is often our first act of resistance. It matters how we talk about the work we do; the words we use or the words we create matter to describe the world we live in, the freedom and justice we deserve. It matters now whether you call yourself protesters or organizers, activists or the like. Whatever title you assume, be the people committed to fighting for accountability and justice. Let that be what defines you.” ― DeRay Mckesson
- “Stand for love. Social justice is everyone’s responsibility.” ― Amy Leigh Mercree
- “I yearned for these other worlds where magic empowers people who understood it because I wanted to change my world, my place in it. I wanted to either be more visible, seen for who I am in my entirety and respected for it… or else I wanted to be even more invisible, protected from a world that would attempt to destroy me if others knew I was unlike them. That I was another. That I was queer” ― Christopher Barzak
- “There are times when so much talk or writing, so many ideas seem to stand in the way, to block the awareness that for the oppressed, the exploited, the dominated, domination is not just a subject for radical discourse, for books. It is about pain – the pain of hunger, the pain of over-work, the pain of degradation and dehumanization, the pain of loneliness, the pain of loss, the pain of isolation, the pain of exile… Even before the words, we remember the pain.” ― bell hooks
- “It is far harder to make a believer into a skeptic than to make a skeptic into a believer.” ― Mike Klepper
- “.. truth is trouble.” ― Toni Morrison Son
- “… truth is trouble.” ― Toni Morrison Son
- “How much are we allowed to change our bodies while still being body positive? Does that amount of change decrease if we call ourselves part of the fat acceptance movement? Does the community get to vote you out if you go over a line? Where is the line? Does a group of people on a social media platform count as a community?” ― Jes Baker
- “Successful reformation must allow social justice ideology to remain in existence while it is removed from its current position as policy-maker, arbiter of expression and inquiry, and censor. Only by relegating social justice to the position of one among many other belief systems can the university successfully absorb the creed without remaining hostage to it.” ― Michael Rectenwald
- “Envy was once considered to be one of the seven deadly sins before it became one of the most admired virtues under its new name, ‘social justice’.” ― Thomas Sowell
- “In an interactive, decentralized world, the voiceless do not need someone to be their voice. They need a megaphone.” ― Heather Marsh
- “In American popular usage today, ‘liberalism’ means left-liberalism – not to be confused with ‘neoliberalism’ … and is expressly contrasted with ‘conservatism’. In this usage a liberal is one who leans consciously towards the underprivileged, supports the interests of minorities and socially excluded groups, believes in the use of state power to achieve social justice, and in all probability shares the egalitarian and secular values of the nineteenth century socialists.” ― Roger Scruton
- “Your intentions have little to no impact on the way in which your actions may have harmed others. Do not try to absolve yourself of responsibility with your good intentions.” ― Ijeoma Oluo
Social justice has been, is and will continue to be an important factor in influencing public policies around the world. For the followers of social justice, the most important role of the state is to ensure the welfare and respect of the rights of its citizens, regardless of the social class to which they belong.
Which Social Justice Quote did you find more inspiring? Let us know in the comments!