Toni Morrison's novels singlehandedly changed my life. Audre Lorde's ideas taught me how to do away with any ideologies that furthered my oppression. February 18th is Morrison's and Lorde's shared birthday. While Audre Lorde rests in power, today, Toni Morrison turns 86, and in honor of their impact, here are 12 quotes by Morrison and Lorde to remind you to persevere and resist. 

"I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't." -Audre Lorde

"If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive." - Audre Lorde

"In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction." - Audre Lorde

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat." - Audre Lorde 

"We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit because what was native has been stolen from us, the love of black women for each other." - Audre Lorde

"Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now." - Audre Lorde 

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” - Toni Morrison

“You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn - by practice and careful contemplations - the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it.”- Toni Morrison

"You are your best thing"- Toni Morrison

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power."- Toni Morrison

"Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down." - Toni Morrison

“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.' " -Toni Morrison

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