It’s well past time for equality of all in America. The wise words below were spoken by some of the greats in history and our present time. They are Black Lives Matter quotes that everyone can stand behind.
While 2020 has been an unprecedented year with us facing a health pandemic and society shut down that we never would have experienced, it’s also brought us face-to-face with an issue that has been present in our country since before any of us were here—racism.
It’s something that people have fought against for centuries and we’re still fighting today. The following quotes are for the encouragement of education on the topic for all and to show that we can stand together.
Black Lives Matter quotes that everyone can stand behind
1. “The time is always right to do what is right.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
2. “It’s important for us to also understand that the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ simply refers to the notion that there’s a specific vulnerability for African Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability.” – Barack Obama
3. “There are those who say to you – we are rushing this issue of civil rights. I say we are 172 years late.” – Hubert Humphrey
4. “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
Black Lives Matter Quotes that show the movement is for everyone
5. “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
6. “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou
7. “Black history isn’t a separate history. This is all of our history, this is American history, and we need to understand that. It has such an impact on kids and their values and how they view black people.” – Karyn Parsons
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of Black History quotes celebrating the contributions of African Americans.
8. “As long as people can be judged by the color of their skin, the problem is not solved.” – Oprah Winfrey
9. “It’s up to all of us — Black, white, everyone — no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.” – Michelle Obama
10. “When it comes to Black Lives Matter, I think what folks that are writing ‘All Lives Matter’ need to understand is that for some people black lives don’t matter at all. So for us, black lives matter. So, while you may have the best intentions in saying, ‘All Lives Matter,’ remember: For some people, black lives don’t matter at all.” – Ashton Kutcher
11. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama
12. “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” – Robert F. Kennedy
13. “This nation… was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” – John F. Kennedy
Don’t forget to also check out these protests and activism quotes to inspire you to action.
Black Lives Matter quotes about not staying silent
14. “There is no noise as powerful as the sound of the marching feet of a determined people.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
15. “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” – Shirley Chisholm
16. “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” – Angela Davis
17. “I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.” – Michael Jordan
18. “Have a vision. Be demanding.” – Colin Powell
19. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
20. “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” – Abraham Lincoln
Black Lives Matter quotes that speak to the reality
21. “Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.” – Coretta Scott King
22. “We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right.” – Aretha Franklin
23. “People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country. There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust. People aren’t being held accountable for. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that this country stands for: freedom, liberty and justice for all.” – Colin Kaepernick
24. “Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel
25. “No matter how big a nation is, it is no stronger than its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise.” – Marian Anderson
26. “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” – Malcolm X
27. “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” – Moshe Dayan
28. “When we’re talking about diversity, it’s not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us.” – Ava DuVernay
29. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
30. “These conversations are always so tense, so painful. People are defensive. We want to believe we are good. To face the racisms and prejudices we carry forces us to recognize the ways in which we are imperfect. We have to be willing to accept our imperfections and we have to be willing to accept the imperfections of others. Is that possible on the scale required for change?” – Roxane Gay
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of racism quotes about respect and equality.
31. “The thing about black history is that the truth is so much more complex than anything you could make up.” – Henry Louis Gates
32. “We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. Our abundance has brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of spirit.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
33. “If now isn’t a good time for the truth, I don’t see when we’ll get to it.” – Nikki Giovanni
Also check out these LGBTQ quotes celebrating pride and love.
Black Lives Matter quotes about making a difference
34. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
35. “I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving up.” – Rosa Parks
36. “The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” – W.E.B. Du Bois
37. “When we blame private prejudice, suburban snobbishness, and black poverty for contemporary segregation, we not only whitewash our own history but avoid considering whether new policies might instead promote an integrated community.” – Richard Rothstein
38. “The majority of the Negroes who took part in the year-long boycott of Montogomery’s buses were poor and untutored; but they understood the essence of the Montgomery movement; one elderly woman summed it up for the rest. When asked after several weeks of walking whether she was tired, she answered: ‘My feet is tired, but my soul is at rest.’” – Martin Luther King Jr.
39. “Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.” – Jackie Robinson
40. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
41. “One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.” – Franklin Thomas
42. “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” – Muhammad Ali
Peaceful quotes for the Black Lives Matter movement
43. “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” – Indira Gandhi
44. “Remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman
45. “Truth is powerful and it prevails.” – Sojourner Truth
46. “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa
47. “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” – Coretta Scott King
48. “Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.” – Eugene Ionesco
49. “Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.” – Ola Joseph
50. “There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.” – Michelle Obama
You might also like these Carter G. Woodson quotes that will remind you how important it is to know black history.
More Black Lives Matter quotes
51. “If we go back long enough, every single person on earth comes from a black mother. That makes all of us black, even if some look less black than others.” – Abhijit Naskar
52. “Racial equality is a prize worth fighting for.” – Germany Kent
53. “If all lives did really matter, black lives matter wouldn’t have been born in the first place.” – Abhijit Naskar
54. “No black man or woman deserves to be killed anyhow, we are go-getters, we are hard-working people, we are wonderful people, and our lives matter.” – Bamigboye Olurotimi
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of black women quotes for a boost of inspiration.
55. “LIFE is a natural human life that should not be taken away by anyone no matter what, who, where, why, or how.” – Joey Lawsin
56. “Blacks are intelligent people, loving people, caring people, honest people, faithful people, and peaceful people, I am a black man, and I know that Black Lives Matter.” – Bamigboye Olurotimi
57. “Our hearts are not black or white. Nor are they fat or thin. Our hearts are all the same. Our hearts only beat for love!” – Avijeet Das
58. “An act of violence, no matter how small, can never be justified if it can be avoided.” – Kamand Kojouri
59. “Dark skin is not a crime. Light skin is not a prize.” – Anan$i
60. “It is not our differences that separate us. It is the denial of the beauty and rightness of those differences that separate us.” – Razel Jones
Black Lives Matter quotes to help you be aware of what is going on
61. “Racism is not getting worse, it’s getting filmed.” — Will Smith
62. “Resist when the world tries to convince you otherwise.” — Nic Stone
63. “Demanding equality and equity isn’t radicalism. This is realism.” — D.B. Mays
64. “Indifference is acceptable from a vegetable, not from a human being.” — Abhijit Naskar
65. “White feelings should never be held in higher regard than black lives.” — Rachel Cargle
66. “Silence is the language of realization, action is the language of revolution.” — Abhijit Naskar
67. “The world is simply a better place when there are more voices in the room.” — Deborah Jacobs
68. “I don’t need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like… happens.” — Kiley Reid
69. “Injustice isn’t one’s problem. It’s our problem. Yes, your life does matter. But right now, our life is a threat.” — Shirdley S.
70. “I can’t bring myself to watch yet another video, not because I don’t care, but because we’re all just a few videos away from becoming completely desensitized. The public execution of Black folks will never be normal.” — Andrena Sawyer
Eye-opening Black Lives Matter quotes
71. “If you believe in a cause, be willing to stand up for that cause with a million people or by yourself.” ― Otis S. Johnson
72. “I am angry. It is illegal for me to be angry. Remember: Don’t get angry. It is illegal to be a black man and be angry. Right. Got it. I will remember this next time.” ― Kara Lee Corthron
73. “The fear of offense is a really small price to pay for freedom.” ― Andrena Sawyer
74. “Mostly they all were products of single parents, and in the most tragic category – black boys, with no particular criminal inclinations but whose very lack of direction put them in the crosshairs of the world.” ― Ta-Nehisi Coates
75. “In a world stolen by whites, anything non-white is inferior.” ― Abhijit Naskar
76. “I am a free black man whose body is a testament to surviving unspeakable terror. I am a free black man, and although my memories are ancient, I am a map of new dreams; a cartography of a smooth-and-swift-with-the-scalpel imagination.” ― Diriye Osman
77. “We have to walk around being perfect all the time just to be seen as human. Don’t you ever get tired of being a symbol? Don’t you ever just want to be human?” ― Christina Hammonds Reed
78. “Racists are snakes. Their minds are closed but their mouths are wide open, full of venom, ready to sting and destroy people around them.” ― Mouloud Benzadi
79. “America doesn’t mean white or color, America means celebration of diversity.” ― Abhijit Naskar
80. “No matter how many times my dad urged me to reach for the stars, my understanding of the universe was still confined by the world’ limited notion of what a Black country girl from the South could do or who she could become.” ― Brittany K. Barnett
Black Lives Matter quotes from famous people
81. “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.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
82. “Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with.” – Michelle Obama
83. “We need justice for George Floyd. We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We’re broken and we’re disgusted, we cannot normalise this pain. No more senseless killings of human beings. No more seeing people of colour as less than human. We can no longer look away.” – Beyoncé
84. “Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart!” – Rihanna
85. “It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets.” – Michelle Obama
86. “I love blackness, it is stunning, majestic, inspiring but it is also not here to serve non-black people when it suits them via sports, music, hairstyles, entertainment etc. It should be respected in the workplace and shouldn’t be ignored when it’s crying out in fear of being killed.” – Clara Amfo
87. “Racism has been rampant for hundreds of years, it’s just that in this century people have camera phones to video it. It’s absolutely disgusting that you get mistreated because of the colour of your skin.” – Nialla Horan
88. “In the end we will not remember the enemies words, but the silence of our friends/peers’. Unarmed, cuffed and not dangerous. The only crime he committed was being Black and beautiful.” – Stefflon Don
89. “I stand with our heroes out there in support and solidarity. If you don’t know what else to do, every little bit helps.” – Chrissy Teigen
90. “Imagine this: a nation that is set up with individual families that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children in love, have a better rate of becoming better human beings and that’s what we need to create… Black lives have always mattered.” – John Boyega
Black Lives Matter quotes to promote inclusivity
91. “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.” – Maya Angelou
92. “To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.” – Rosa Parks
93. “Activism is my rent for living on the planet.” – Alice Walker
94. “There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race — scientifically, anthropologically.” – Toni Morrison
95. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
96. “An eye for an eye makes the world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi
97. “Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism.” – Oprah Winfrey
98. “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you — always.” – Oprah Winfrey
99. “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” – Malcolm X
100. “I see what’s possible when we recognize that we are one American family, all deserving of equal treatment.” – Barack Obama
Did these Black Lives Matter quotes motivate you to make a difference?
The phrase “Black Lives Matter” may be newer when compared with the history of the fight for equality, but while the words may have changed, the message never has. And the message will not change so long as there is not the same freedom and security for all people within our world. It’s a fight that’s not just for minorities, but for everyone regardless of race.
Black lives matter. So, choose a few of these quotes that motivate you and use them as reminders that together we can make a difference for our future generations. Together, we can overcome the wrongs and injustices of the past.
Did we miss any of your favorite Black Lives Matter quotes and sayings? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
May 12, 2022 5:00 AM EST