individual figures in three rows, each unique, with one or two hands raised, diverse identities and styles

Quotations about building, maintaining, and being in community. People are essentially social beings, and so people tend to build communities that share common interests, locations, or goals. Community also carries the connotation of a certain kind of group: one that meets the needs of all of those within the community.

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If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

— Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s, Often attributed to Lilla Watson, who said she was “not comfortable being credited for something that had been born of a collective process” — the attribution here is the one she accepted.

The strongest bond of human sympathy outside the family relation should be one uniting working people of all nations and tongues and kindreds.

— Abraham Lincoln

[M]y consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated.

— Albert Einstein

Community offsets loneliness. It gives people a vitally necessary sense of belonging.

— Alvin Toffler

There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe…
At every crossing of the threads there is an individual.
And every individual is a crystal bead.
And every crystal bead reflects
Not only the light from every other crystal in the net
But also every other reflection
Throughout the entire universe.

— Anne Adams, an adaptation of one of the oldest written creations of humanity: “The Net of Jewels, or Indra’s Net”

Without community, there is no liberation.

— Audre Lorde

We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.

— Bayard Rustin

Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.

— bell hooks

American families have always shown remarkable resiliency, or flexible adjustment to natural, economic, and social challenges. Their strengths resemble the elasticity of a spider web, a gull’s skillful flow with the wind, the regenerating power of perennial grasses, the cooperation of an ant colony, and the persistence of a stream carving canyon rocks. These are not the strengths of fixed monuments but living organisms. This resilience is not measured by wealth, muscle or efficiency but by creativity, unity, and hope. Cultivating these family strengths is critical to a thriving human community.

— Ben Silliman, Family Life Specialist with the University of Wyoming’s Cooperative Extension Service

You can make it, but it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone.

— Betty Ford

The technology we need most badly is the technology of community, the knowledge about how to cooperate to get things done.

— Bill McKibben

True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. We want true belonging, but it takes tremendous courage to knowingly walk into hard moments.

— Brené Brown

If we can’t think for ourselves, if we’re unwilling to question authority, then we’re just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us. In every country, we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. In the demon-haunted world that we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.

— Carl Sagan

Ironically, as much as we yearn for deep friendships and meaningful communities, many of us seem to be unable to find our way into them. Even if we know we’re made for community, finding one and staying there seems almost impossible. Though we hate to admit it, if we stay long enough in any relationship or set of friendships, we will experience failure, doubt, burnout, loneliness, transitions, a loss of self, betrayal, frustration, a sense of entitlement, grief, and weariness. Yet it’s these painful community experiences, these tensions we struggle to navigate, that hold surprising gifts.

— Chris L. Heuertz, Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community

We were born to unite with our fellow people, and to join in community with the human race.

— Cicero

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.

— Coretta Scott King

Love is such a powerful force. It’s there for everyone to embrace — that kind of unconditional love for all of humankind. That is the kind of love that impels people to go into the community and try to change conditions for others, to take risks for what they believe in.

— Coretta Scott King

Simply being with other people who are also seekers and who are involved in the same quest you are is very meaningful.

— Dan Wakefield

We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.

— Dorothy Day

Now my friends, I am opposed to the system of society in which we live today, not because I lack the natural equipment to do for myself but because I am not satisfied to make myself comfortable knowing that there are thousands of my fellow men who suffer for the barest necessities of life. We were taught under the old ethic that man’s business on this earth was to look out for himself. That was the ethic of the jungle; the ethic of the wild beast. Take care of yourself, no matter what may become of your fellow man. Thousands of years ago the question was asked; ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ That question has never yet been answered in a way that is satisfactory to civilized society.

Yes, I am my brother’s keeper. I am under a moral obligation to him that is inspired, not by any maudlin sentimentality but by the higher duty I owe myself. What would you think me if I were capable of seating myself at a table and gorging myself with food and saw about me the children of my fellow beings starving to death.

— Eugene V. Debs

Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

— Eugene V. Debs

You can survive on your own; you can grow strong on your own; you can prevail on your own; but you cannot become human on your own.

— Frederick Buechner

I accept relationship as my primary teacher about myself, other people, and the mysteries of the universe.

— Gay Hendricks

When they are alone they want to be with others, and when they are with others they want to be alone. After all, human beings are like that.

— Gertrude Stein

We are each other’s magnitude and bond.

— Gwendolyn Brooks

It is mutual trust, even more than mutual interest that holds human associations together.

— H.L. Mencken

Do not separate yourself from the community. Do not believe in yourself until the day you die. Do not judge your fellow until you have stood in his place. Do not say something that is not readily understood in the belief that it will ultimately be understood. And do not say ‘When I free myself of my concerns, I will study,’ for perhaps you will never free yourself.

— Hillel the Elder, Pirkei Avot

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

— J.R.R. Tolkien

Teaching in a Settlement requires distinct methods, for it is true of people who have been allowed to remain undeveloped and whose facilities are inert and sterile, that they cannot take their learning heavily. It has to be diffused in a social atmosphere, information must be held in solution, in a medium of fellowship and good will…. It is needless to say that a Settlement is a protest against a restricted view of education.

— Jane Addams

The relationship of students and faculty to each other and to the residents was that of guest and hostess and at the close of each term the residents gave a reception to students and faculty which was one of the chief social events of the season. Upon this comfortable social basis some very good work was done.

— Jane Addams
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