Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
- Margaret Mead
We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.
- Pema Chodron
One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Baptist minister, social activist, prominent leader of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.
- Elie Wiesel
One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen, can change the world.
- Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Pakistani education activist, collaborating writer of I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.
How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
- Anne Frank wrote as a child while hiding with her Jewish family from the Nazis during World War II. Anne Frank’s Tales from the Secret Annex
Try and understand what part you have to play in the world in which you live. There’s more to life than you know and it’s all happening out there. Discover what part you can play and then go for it.
- Sir Ian McKellen, actor, LGBT activist
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we lived. It is the difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.
- Nelson Mandela
There’s a gap somehow between empathy and activism. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of soul force, something that emanates from a deep truth inside of us and empowers us to act. Once you identify your inner genius, you will be able to take action, whether it’s writing a check or digging a well.
- Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
Developing compassion for Congress and politicians is a good way to begin practicing the new social activism if you want to make effective changes in the world. Perhaps the most startling new insight of all is that there is no other way to effectively change the world.
- Gary Zukav, author, advocate for compassion in politics and society.
Optimism for me isn’t a passive expectation that things will get better; it’s a conviction that if we can make things better — that whatever suffering we see, no matter how bad it is, we can help people if we don’t lose hope and we don’t look away.
- Melinda Gates, philanthropist and businesswoman.
(Sometimes it’s the people you can’t help who inspire you the most, she said.)
Don’t let complexity stop you. Be activists. Take on the big inequities. It will be one of the great experiences of your lives.
- Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Do it! What are you waiting on? Do it! Stand up for what you believe in. The world needs your voice. Whoever you are, you have something to say. Say it.
- Kerry Washington, actress, women’s rights.