55 Inspiring Audre Lorde Quotes

Audre Lorde was a powerful woman who used her writing to advocate for women’s rights, racial equality, and LGBT+ rights. Her intersectionality meant she faced hardship, but it also gave her immense strength, which is reflected in these Audre Lorde quotes.

Lorde understood that nothing would change if people didn’t stand up and speak out, so she led by example as well as encouraging others to make their voices heard and their actions seen. Her writing is not only beautiful but inspiring!

Read on to see some of Audre Lorde’s quotes and empowering ideas.

1. “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” — Audre Lorde

2. “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” — Audre Lorde

3. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” — Audre Lorde

4. “Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.” — Audre Lorde

5. “You cannot, 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

6. “…and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.” — Audre Lorde

7. “Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.” — Audre Lorde

8. “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” — Audre Lorde

9. “Some women wait for themselves around the next corner and call the empty spot peace but the opposite of living is only not living and the stars do not care.” — Audre Lorde

10. “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” — Audre Lorde

11. “The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.” — Audre Lorde

12. “I am my best work — a series of road maps, reports, recipes, doodles, and prayers from the front lines.” — Audre Lorde

13. “Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people.” — Audre Lorde

14. “Revolution is not a one-time event.” — Audre Lorde

15. “Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.” — Audre Lorde

16. “Your silence will not protect you.” — Audre Lorde

17. “The white fathers told us: I think, therefore I am. The black goddess within each of us — the poet — whispers in our dreams: I feel, therefore I can be free.” — Audre Lorde

18. “It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures, in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish.” — Audre Lorde

19. “For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.” — Audre Lorde

20. “We must recognize and nurture the creative parts of each other without always understanding what will be created.” — Audre Lorde

21. “I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I’ll be sending messages on a Ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side.” — Audre Lorde

22. “When we define ourselves, when I define myself, the place in which I am like you and the place in which I am not like you, I’m not excluding you from the joining — I’m broadening the joining.” — Audre Lorde

23. “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” — Audre Lorde

24. “I learned so much from listening to people. And all I knew was, the only thing I had was honesty and openness.” — Audre Lorde

25. “If they cannot love and resist at the same time, they probably will not survive.” — Audre Lorde

26. “The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives.” — Audre Lorde

27. “The more I use my strength in the service of my vision the less I am afraid…” — Audre Lorde

28. “The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.” — Audre Lorde

29. “Learning not to crumple before these uncertainties fuels my resolve to print myself upon the texture of each day fully rather than forever.” — Audre Lorde

30. “Because the machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak.” — Audre Lorde

31. “When times are hard, do something. If it works, do it some more. If it does not work, do something else. But keep going.” — Audre Lorde

32. “What you hear in my voice is fury, not suffering. Anger, not moral authority.” — Audre Lorde

33. “We recognize that all knowledge is mediated through the body and that feeling is a profound source of information about our lives.” — Audre Lorde

34. “We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit.” — Audre Lorde

35. “Our visions begin with our desires.” — Audre Lorde

36. “Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.” — Audre Lorde

37. “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” — Audre Lorde

38. “You become strong by doing the things you need to be strong for. This is the way genuine learning takes place. That’s a very difficult way to live, but it also has served me. It’s been an asset as well as a liability.” — Audre Lorde

39. “Without community, there is no liberation…but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.” — Audre Lorde

40. “We cannot love ‘our people’ unless we love each of us ourselves, unless I love each piece of myself, those I wish to keep and those I wish to change—for survival is the ability to encompass difference, to encompass change without destruction.” — Audre Lorde

41. “How are you practicing what you preach — whatever you preach, and who is exactly listening?” — Audre Lorde

42. “But the true feminist deals out of a lesbian consciousness whether or not she ever sleeps with women.” — Audre Lorde

43. “You need to reach down and touch the thing that’s boiling inside of you and make it somehow useful.” — Audre Lorde

44. “We must constantly encourage ourselves and each other to attempt the heretical actions that our dreams imply and so many of our old ideas disparage.” — Audre Lorde

45. “What gets me about the United States is that it pretends to be honest and therefore has so little room to move toward hope.” — Audre Lorde

46. “Too often, we pour the energy needed for recognizing and exploring difference into pretending those differences are insurmountable barriers, or that they do not exist at all.” — Audre Lorde

47. “What happens when you narrow your definition to what is convenient, or what is fashionable, or what is expected, is dishonesty by silence.” — Audre Lorde

48. “The oppression of women knows no ethnic nor racial boundaries, true, but that does not mean it is identical within those boundaries.” — Audre Lorde

49. “There are many kinds of open… Love is a word, another kind of open.” — Audre Lorde

50. “What is there possibly left for us to be afraid of, after we have dealt face to face with death and not embraced it? Once I accept the existence of dying as a life process, who can ever have power over me again?” — Audre Lorde

51. “If I do not bring all of who I am to whatever I do, then I bring nothing, or nothing of lasting worth, for I have withheld my essence.” — Audre Lorde

52. “I have been woman for a long time beware my smile I am treacherous with old magic.” — Audre Lorde

53. “As a living creature I am part of two kinds of forces—growth and decay, sprouting and withering, living and dying—and at any given moment of our lives, each one of us is actively located somewhere along a continuum between these two forces.” — Audre Lorde

54. “And where the words of women are crying to be heard, we must each of us recognize our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives.” — Audre Lorde

55. “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” — Audre Lorde

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