89 Protest and Activism Quotes to Inspire You to Action

These protests and activism quotes show the importance of making your voice heard. 

Throughout history, protesting has been used as a way to push important changes to be made.

Protests played have played a part in the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Rights Movement, and LGBT Right’s Movement.

And while some important progress has been made in the world over the years, there is still work to be done. 

Protests and activism are a few ways that people try to build awareness around important causes.

They can help bring much-needed attention to conversations and changes that need to happen around the country and world.  

You may also enjoy our collection of Frederick Douglass quotes.

If you enjoy this article, check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily motivation. 

If you want more motivational quotes, check out our motivational quotes category page.

The importance of protest and activism quotes

1. “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel

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2. “To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

3. “You are either part of the solution or part of the problem.” – Eldridge Cleaver

4. “We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” – Malala Yousafzai

5. “I want to be proud of this country, but when aspects of our policy don’t align with my ethics, I want to protest them and try to change them.” – Shepard Fairey

6. “Protesting is about making history, creating art and protecting future generations.” – Steven Magee

Uniting through protest and activism quotes

7. “Let us remember we are all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order, and the right of peaceful protest.” – Barack Obama

8. “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.” – Dolores Huerta

9. “Most activism is brought about by us ordinary people.” – Patricia Hill Collins

10. “To the wrongs that need resistance, to the right that needs assistance, to the future in the distance, give yourselves.” – Carrie Chapman Catt

11. “Avoiding offense means that we don’t accept each other as equals.” – Ayaan Hirsi Ali

12. “You don’t fight racism with racism, the best way to fight racism is with solidarity.” – Bobby Seale

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of racism quotes about respect and equality.

13. “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” – John Lennon

14. “We have freedom of speech. We are able to hold hands in protest and stand up for what we believe in and have people hear what you have to say.” – Randy Orton

Also check out these LGBTQ quotes and sayings celebrating pride and love.

Bringing attention through protest and activism quotes

15. “It seems the only way to gain attention today is to organize a march and protest something.” – Billy Graham

16. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin

17. “Even the tiny protests help.” – Patsy Mink

18. “This is America. Anyone is free to protest about anything they want.” – Nikki Haley

19. “I think there’s a weapon of cynicism to say, ‘Protest doesn’t work. Organizing doesn’t work. Y’all are a bunch of hippies. You know, it doesn’t do anything.’ because, frankly, it’s said out of fear, because it is a potent force for political change.” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

20. “I am mindful that the goal of protest is not more protest, but the goal of protest is change.” – DeRay Mckesson

21. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

22. “People might not protest for overtly political or social causes, but when they can’t feed themselves and their family, they will take to the streets.” – Marcus Samuelsson

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If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of political quotes that show all perspectives.

Peaceful protest and activism quotes

23. “Before we went on any protest, whether it was sit-ins or the freedo rides or any march, we prepared ourselves, and we were disciplined. We were committed to the way of peace – the way of non-violence – the way of love – the way of life as the way of living.” – John Lewis

24. “Protesting is never a disturbance of the peace. Corruption, injustice, war and intimidation are disturbances of the peace.” – Bryant McGill

25. “If people want to protest, to get out there and express themselves, as long as they do it peacefully, they should be encouraged to do so.” – Keith Ellison

26. “Give light and people will find the way.” – Ella Baker

27. “If protesting, do no harm to yourself or others. Peaceful protest is more effective when creating real change. Peaceful protest wins over the hearts and minds of the majority. That majority continues to grow. It is like sunlight and water for your garden.” – Leland Lewis

28. “Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples.” – Rigoberta Menchu

29. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman

30. “Protesting oftentimes takes a stance of offense; a form of violence that may not always be physical but is a form of violence all the same. Everyone has the right to be heard, but only if they are willing to really listen to others in an attempt to understand.” – Eric Overby

31. “We must pursue peaceful end through peaceful means.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

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Protests and activism quotes by famous activists

32. “Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” – Cesar Chave

33. “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” – Jane Addams

34. “There is a spirit and a need and a man at the beginning of every great human advance. Every one of these must be right for that particular moment in history, or nothing happens.” – Coretta Scott King

35. “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

36. “No one will do for you what you need to do for yourself. We cannot afford to be separate. We have to see that all of us are in the same boat.” – Dorothy Height

37. “Wherever women gather together failure is impossible.” – Susan B. Anthony

38. “We build the path as we can, rock by rock.” – Hosea Williams

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Thought-provoking protest and activism quotes

39. “I don’t think there’s any perfect way to protest.” – Megan Rapinoe

40. “Who can protest alone? Who dares rise up? It is not easy. One is all alone, and evermore shall be so.” – Michael Leunig

41. “I think of protest as confrontation and disruption, as the end of silence.” – DeRay Mckesson

42. “A right is not what someone gives you; it’s what no one can take from you.” – Ramsey Clark

43. “We too often bind ourselves by authorities rather than by the truth.” – Lucretia Mott

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44. “I am not naive enough to believe that voting is the only way to bring about transformation change, just as I know that protest alone is not the sole solution to the challenges we face.” – DeRay Mckesson

45. “In protesting for your rights in any form you may, but it’s only good if they can understand your problems and feelings and not only to judge you.” – Auliq Ice

46. “I guarantee that the seed you plant in love, no matter how small, will grow into a mighty tree of refuge. We all want a future for ourselves and we must now care enough to create, nurture and secure a future for our children.” – Afeni Shakur

47. “It’s not unpatriotic to denounce an injustice committed on our behalf, perhaps it’s the most patriotic thing we can do.” – E.A. Bucchianeri

48. “When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” – Bayard Rustin

49. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind s made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks

50. “If you’re able to protest, protest. If you’re able to volunteer, volunteer.” – Ad-Rock

More protest and activism quotes

51. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Fran

52. Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.” – Howard Zinn

53. A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” – Edward Abbey

54. “Against eternal injustice, man must assert justice, and to protest against the universe of grief, he must create happiness.” – Albert Camus

55. “Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.” – Bob Marley

56. “It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.” – Aristotle

57. “If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.” – Albert Einstein

58. “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” – Mahatma Gandhi

59. “The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action.” – Malcolm X

Protest and activism quotes to fire you up

60. “Don’t wait for a better world. Start now to create a world of harmony and peace. It is up to you, and it always has been. You may even find the solution at the end of your fork.” ― Sharon Gannon

61. “Obviously these are some exceptional young people, but what they have in common is that they were ordinary people who cared. They wanted to act, to do something, to make life better for other people—and they have.” ― Morgan Carroll

62. “All struggles against oppression in the modern world begin by redefining what had previously been considered private, non-public and non-political issues as matters of public concern, as issues of justice, as sites of power.” ― Seyla Benhabib

63. “You can’t tiptoe toward justice. You can’t walk up to the door all polite and knock once or twice, hoping someone’s home. Justice is a door that, when closed, must be kicked in.” ― Daniel José Older

64. “If you don’t challenge things, all you have done is passed it on to the next woman to deal with.” ― Julia Hardy

65. “No justice movement in history would have been successful if it had tailored its language to the oppressors.” ― Alex J. O’Connor

66. “What I used to say to people, when I was much more engagé myself, is that you can’t be apolitical. It will come and get you. It’s not that you shouldn’t be neutral. It’s that you won’t be able to stay neutral.” ― Christopher Hitchens

67. “To spend one’s life being angry, and in the process doing nothing to change it, is to me ridiculous. I could be mad all day long, but if I’m not doing a damn thing, what difference does it make?” ― Charles Fuller

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68. “Your politics are so far right, they’re wrong.” ― Harry Whitewolf

69. “Fools multiply when wise men are silent.” ― Nelson Mandela

Protest and activism quotes to think about

70. “An activist is one who is actively involved in creating a community, whether that is locally in their neighborhood or internationally. It is an admirable quality.” ― Jasmine Guy

71. “You just have to find your activism and don’t let anyone tell you what that should look like. If you’re doing the work, and you’re getting someone to think, you’re on the right path.” ― Angie Thomas

72. “Activism has been very productive in our society.” ― Anthony Fauci

73. “Actually oddly enough, I think my work, the activism, will be forgotten. And I hope it will. Because I hope those problems will have gone away.” ― Bono

74. “I believe activism is the true source of change in the world. Pushing to change social structures in communities that you are a part of is critical for making real lasting change.” ― Marley Dias

75. “I was raised in a very activist household so that I grew up surrounded by people who were activists.” ― Pearl Cleage

76.  “One individual cannot possibly make a difference, alone. It is individual efforts, collectively, that makes a noticeable difference—all the difference in the world!” ― Jane Goodall

77. “Someone who does an act. In a democratic society, you’re supposed to be an activist; that is, you participate. It could be a letter written to an editor.” ― Studs Terkel

78. “You have to be secure in yourself to engage and challenge the mainstream.” ― Anne Poelina

79. “Being an activist is about getting things done. It’s not about standing around shaking your fist in anger.” ― Christine Quinn

Protest And Activism Quotes To Uplift Your Activism Spirits

80. “The line between activism and terrorism is so thin that if you scratch the surface of all the activists, you’ll end up discovering more terrorists than actual reformers.” ― Abhijit Naskar

81. “Fighting hate should be fun. It’s being a hater that sucks.” ― Loretta J. Ross

82. “Sometimes all we have is a little light that we can shine outward into a big darkness.” ― Janisse Ray

83. “Reform is just another name for responsibility.” ― Abhijit Naskar

84. “You ultimately decide, every day, whether or not your life will speak on behalf of the oppressed, or remain an inaudible but decisive tool for the status quo.” ― Lisa Kemmerer

85. “Recognizing the transformative power wielded by activists does not deny the obstacles that they can sometimes present for policy making.” ― Tom C.W. Lin

86. “Just as humans are neither all good nor all bad, their institutional and collective efforts at capitalism and activism are neither all good nor all bad.” ― Tom C.W. Lin

87. “To say nothing is saying something. You must denounce things you are against or one might believe that you support things you really do not.” ― Germany Kent

88. “If a policy is wrongheaded, feckless and corrupt, I take it personally and consider it a moral obligation to sound off and not shut up until it’s fixed.” ― David Hackworth

89. “You have to do it.” ― Eric Rofes

Did these activism quotes inspire you to stand up for what you believe?

What do you stand for?

What can you do to bring attention and awareness to the changes that need to happen in our world to improve it for everyone?

Finding a way to make your voice heard may be a first step for you.

Joining together in peaceful protests can shed light on crucial issues and problems that need to be addressed as Martin Luther King Jr. showed the world.

While you may not feel like one person can make a difference, joining together with others create change and a positive, lasting impact on the world around you.

Speaking up can be one of the greatest contributions that you can make to the world. 

Which of these protest and activism quotes inspired you the most?

Do you have other motivational quotes to add?

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