On December 15, 2021, it was announced that bell hooks, the renowned author, feminist, scholar, educator, and activist, passed away. hooks' writings and feminist lines of thought were revolutionary, and they challenged the standard status quo. She showed her activism through her writings and urged her audience to think critically about issues of race, politics, and society at large. bell hooks is the pen name of Gloria Jean Watkins, and she got her pen name from her grandmother’s name, ‘Bell Blair Hooks’. In honor of bell hooks, here are eight quotes to remember as we delve into the new year.

"Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion." 

This quote is powerful and multi-faceted in many ways, especially in today's discrimination and racial injustice climate. hooks uses this quote to point out that human beings cope best when they are in community with one another. The quote highlights the importance of shared grief as a pathway to healing, acceptance, and turning a new page. A person who has deep trauma from childhood, for example, can find solace and healing in talking to a therapist or mental health professional as opposed to bottling things up.

“All too often women believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget. In actuality, when we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm’s way.”

Women often find themselves in tricky situations with romantic partners, and most times, those tricky situations turn toxic quickly. hooks highlights the importance of self-love and self-respect in any relationship as opposed to enduring pain and suffering as a way to earn love and dedication. 

“how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?”

In this quote, hooks highlights the importance of holding people accountable for their mistakes while simultaneously extending grace and space as they work through their issues. It is a school of thought that can be applied within intimate relationships and the broader society.

“True resistance begins with people confronting pain…and wanting to do something to change it.”

In her book Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics, hooks writes, “True resistance begins with people confronting pain…and wanting to do something to change it.” In this quote hooks sharply points out the importance of acknowledging pain, discomfort, and grief and then confronting it at the root level before healing can happen.

“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.”

Although hooks acknowledged the importance of community and a support network, she also believed that solitude is necessary. In this quote, hooks is trying to point out the significance of independence and self-sufficiency within the context of the most loving relationships. She points out that it is acceptable to learn to be alone occasionally so that we don't use our closest relationships as emotional crutches.

“To be truly visionary, we have to root our imagination in our concrete reality while simultaneously imagining possibilities beyond that reality.”

hooks was often straight to the point in her work, and this quote shows that clearly. By pointing out that accepting the facts of reality while also staying hopeful about the endless possibilities that the future carries is a much more grounded approach towards any project or vision.

“When we choose to love, we choose to move against fear, against alienation and separation. The choice to love is a choice to connect, to find ourselves in the other.”

hooks had many powerful quotes about love, and this was one of them. In many ways, hooks was talking about the importance of vulnerability and openness in relationships.

“The ability to critique oneself and change and to hear critique from others is the condition of being that makes us capable of responsibility.”

Taking responsibility for our actions or inactions is a great way to mature and hold ourselves accountable for the ways that we interact with the world around us and the people in our lives. hooks sees self-reflection and critique as an asset.