close Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn
8 mins

Top 10 Powerful Audre Lorde Quotes to Ignite Your Activism

Discover the empowering and intersectional wisdom of Audre Lorde with a collection of feminist quotes that will inspire and challenge you. Explore the words of this influential writer and activist for a deeper understanding of social justice and equality.
by The Blinkist Team | Nov 30 2023

Audre Lorde, a renowned American writer, poet, and activist, has left an indelible mark on literature and social justice. Her works, which span from the 1960s to the 1990s, continue to resonate with readers today. Lorde’s writings explore themes of race, gender, sexuality, and identity, challenging societal norms and advocating for equality and empowerment. With her powerful voice and insightful perspectives, Lorde’s work remains relevant and necessary in our ongoing pursuit of a more inclusive and just society. Her book on her struggle to overcome breast cancer , The Cancer Journals (1980), is considered as a major work of illness narrative.

In a world that often feels divided and in need of change, it is important to find inspiration and guidance from powerful voices who have fought for justice and equality. Audre Lorde, a renowned writer, poet, and activist, is one such voice whose words continue to ignite the flames of activism in the hearts of many. In this article, we have curated a list of the top 10 powerful Audre Lorde quotes that will not only resonate with you but also empower you to take action and make a difference in the world. Get ready to be inspired and motivated as we delve into the profound wisdom of Audre Lorde.

10 Empowering Audre Lorde Quotes to Inspire Change

If I cannot air this pain and alter it, I will surely die of it. That’s the beginning of social protest.

Audre Lorde

This line emphasizes the importance of expressing and addressing our pain and grievances in order to bring about social change. It highlights the transformative power of speaking out against injustice and standing up for what we believe in. By refusing to remain silent and passive, we can ignite a movement and initiate social protest, ultimately striving for a more equitable and just society.

You are the one that you are looking for.

Audre Lorde

This quote emphasizes the idea that the answers and fulfillment we seek can be found within ourselves. It suggests that we often search for happiness, validation, or purpose outside of ourselves, when in reality, we already possess the qualities and capabilities we are searching for. This quote encourages self-reflection and self-acceptance, reminding us that we are the ones who have the power to create our own happiness and find the answers we seek.

Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people.

Audre Lorde

This quote highlights the harsh reality of a profit-driven economy and its inherent need to reject and marginalize those who are different or considered outsiders. It suggests that in order for a profit economy to thrive, it must create a surplus of people who are excluded and deemed as less valuable. This quote sheds light on the systemic injustice and inequality that is perpetuated by such economic systems, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and challenging these oppressive structures in order to create a more inclusive and equitable society.

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde offers a powerful insight into the importance of self-definition and autonomy. This quote highlights the dangers of allowing others to shape our identities and dictate our lives. Lorde emphasizes the need to assert our own individuality and resist the pressures to conform to societal expectations. By defining ourselves on our own terms, we can avoid being consumed by the expectations and projections of others, and instead live authentically and on our own terms.

I am still learning – how to take joy in all the people I am, how to use all my selves in the service of what I believe, how to accept when I fail and rejoice when I succeed.

Audre Lorde

This quote reminds us of the importance of continuous growth and self-acceptance. It acknowledges that life is a journey of learning and self-discovery. The quote emphasizes the value of embracing all aspects of ourselves and using our unique qualities and experiences to make a positive impact in the world. It also highlights the significance of resilience and finding joy in both our successes and failures. This quote encourages us to approach life with a mindset of curiosity, self-compassion, and a commitment to personal growth.

Divide and conquer must become define and empower.

Audre Lorde

This quote, from Audre Lorde’s collection of essays titled “Sister Outsider,” challenges the notion of division and encourages empowerment instead. Lorde suggests that instead of allowing ourselves to be divided and conquered by external forces, we should define ourselves and our own identities. By doing so, we can reclaim our power and assert our individuality. This quote serves as a reminder to resist societal pressures to conform and instead embrace our unique selves, empowering us to create positive change in our lives and communities.

I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.

Audre Lorde

This quote emphasizes the interconnectedness and interdependence of all individuals, particularly in the context of gender equality. It suggests that true freedom cannot be achieved as long as any woman remains oppressed or marginalized, regardless of the specific circumstances or forms of oppression. This quote highlights the importance of solidarity and collective action in the pursuit of social justice, reminding us that our liberation is bound together with the liberation of others. It calls for a recognition of the diverse experiences and struggles faced by women, and urges us to work towards a world where all women can experience true freedom and equality.

There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.

Audre Lorde

Lorde offers a powerful insight into the interconnectedness of social issues and personal experiences. This quote challenges the notion that struggles can be neatly compartmentalized into single issues, emphasizing that our lives are complex and multifaceted. Lorde reminds us that the various forms of oppression and discrimination are interconnected and cannot be addressed in isolation. By acknowledging the intersectionality of our struggles, we can foster a more inclusive and empathetic approach to social justice, recognizing that our fight for equality encompasses a wide range of interconnected issues.

You cannot use someone else’s fire. You can only use your own. And in order to do that, you must first be willing to believe that you have it.

Audre Lorde

This quote emphasizes the idea that each individual possesses their own unique talents, abilities, and inner fire. It suggests that in order to truly succeed and make a meaningful impact, one must have the self-belief and confidence to tap into their own personal power. This quote encourages us to embrace our own strengths and capabilities, rather than relying on others or seeking validation from external sources. It reminds us that we have the potential to ignite our own fire and achieve greatness by recognizing and harnessing our own inner potential.

Without community, there is no liberation.

Audre Lorde

This quote highlights the importance of community in achieving liberation and freedom. It suggests that true liberation cannot be achieved in isolation, but rather through the collective efforts and support of a community. Without the support and unity of a community, individuals may struggle to break free from oppressive systems and structures. This quote emphasizes the power of solidarity and the need for individuals to come together to create positive change and achieve true liberation. Another interesting book about Cancer is “The Undying” by Anne Boyer, a searing, poetic account of the author’s journey through an aggressive form of breast cancer.


In conclusion, the powerful words of Audre Lorde have the ability to ignite a fire within us and inspire us to take action in the fight for justice and equality. Her quotes remind us of the importance of speaking up, standing strong, and challenging the status quo. By embodying the spirit of activism and embracing Lorde’s wisdom, we can make a difference in our communities and create a more inclusive and equitable world. Let these quotes be a constant reminder that our voices matter and that we have the power to effect change. It is time to ignite the flames of activism within ourselves and work towards a better future for all.


Are you intrigued by the captivating and thought-provoking quotes you’ve just discovered? Imagine having access to a treasure trove of knowledge, where you can explore those topics and more. With Blinkist, you can delve deeper into the ideas and concepts that inspire you. Expand your knowledge by reading or listening to over 6,500 bestsellers, summarized in just 15 minutes.


Take a leap into a world of insights. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to explore, learn, and grow. Join Blinkist now and embark on a journey of discovery! Try Blinkist today with our 7-day free trial!

Start your free 7-day trial

Facebook Twitter Tumblr Instagram LinkedIn Flickr Email Print