Self-Care for Activists

In today’s political climate, so much is at stake. The Muslim ban is separating families. DAPL threatens the water source for 17 million Americans. The global gag rule endangers the lives of millions of women around the world. Today is the first day of Black History Month, and the nation’s leader couldn’t be more out of touch. If that’s not enough, national parks, scientists, and intellectuals all over the country are being silenced on issues of climate change resulting in the March for Science.


Yet, we continue. We push on. We protest. We boycott. We inform. We educate. We are contributing to the change- the unity, empathy, knowledge, and compassion that this world so desperately needs. However, with all the work that we do, we risk burning out.

How can we prevent that?

By practicing self care.

Heed the words of Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, and bell hooks on the importance of self care:

Audre Lorde on survival and self preservation, 

“To face the realities of our lives is not a reason for despair—despair is a tool of your enemies. Facing the realities of our lives gives us motivation for action. For you are not powerless… You know why the hard questions must be asked. It is not altruism, it is self-preservation—survival.”

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

Angela Davis on healing and victory, 

“Self-care and healing and attention to the body and the spiritual dimension—all of this is now a part of radical social justice struggles.”

“Self-care has to be incorporated in all of our efforts. And this is something new. This holistic approach to organizing is, I think, what is going to eventually move us along the trajectory that may lead to some victories.”

bell hooks on love and solitude, 

“Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust.”

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.”

Powerful right?

Here are some additional resources and further reading:

13 Quotes by Black Women on Survival and Critical Self-Preservation by Altheria Gaston on For Harriet

How women of color are practicing self-care in a Trump world by Collier Meyerson on Fusion

4 Self-Care Resources for Days when the World is Terrible by Miriam Zoila Pérez on Colorlines

As always, take care of yourself and each other!

In solidarity,

Denise Nichole Andrews


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