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Quotes on Diversity

The Department of Psychology is committed to promoting the teaching and understanding of diversity issues, and strives to create a supportive and inclusive climate for all students, faculty and staff. For the past 50 years, we have had an active Diversity Committee consisting of faculty and grad students who review and implement policies, practices, and events that foster diversity and inclusion. In February 2017, we invited members of our departmental community to share their perspectives on diversity by drawing on a rich set of literary, cultural, and historic sources. Here are the results. We invite you to share in our tradition by thinking about the importance of diversity in the perspectives that characterize our research, teaching, and practice.

Please submit entries for posting to our Department Chair (

“The highest result of education is tolerance… Long-ago men fought and died for their faith; but it took ages to teach them the other kind of courage – the courage to recognize the faiths of their brethren and their rights of conscience. Tolerance is the first principle of community… No loss by flood and lightning, no destruction of cities and temples by the hostile forces of nature, has deprived man of so many noble lives and impulses as those which his intolerance has destroyed.”

— Helen Keller, Optimism (1903), p. 44

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter their color.”

—Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now (1993)

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”

— Steven R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

“We Americans come from every continent and region. Ours are the faces of all humanity, just as our nation was built by the hopes of all humanity.”

— Ronald Reagan, Sept 17, 1988, Radio Address to the Nation on the Summer Olympic Games

“America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.”

— George H. W. Bush; January 20, 1989, Inaugural address

“America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country…..In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.”

— George W. Bush, Sept 17, 2001, Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.

“All the freaky people make the beauty of the world.”

— Michael Franti, Stay Human, 2001

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter From A Birmingham Jail

“I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”

— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter From A Birmingham Jail

“For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."”

— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter From A Birmingham Jail

“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”

— Coretta Scott King

“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.”

— Coretta Scott King

“I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation.”

— Coretta Scott King

“When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people, we can draw nearer to the earth, we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us.”

— bell hooks

“The power of excellence is overwhelming. It is always in demand, and nobody cares about its color.”

— Daniel "Chappie" James Jr., First African American four-star general

“Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.”

— Theodore Roosevelt, address delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris, Apr. 23, 1910

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

—Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus, 1883. Engraved on the Statue of Liberty.