"I think we need leadership that helps us remember that part of what we are about is caring about more than the person right next to us, but the folks across the way."
"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."Anna Deavere Smith on Henry Ford
"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."Anna Deavere Smith on Martin Luther King, Jr.
"It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership."Anna Deavere Smith on Nelson Mandela
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."Anna Deavere Smith on Lao Tzu
"Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."Anna Deavere Smith on Colin Powell
"Racism has been for everyone like a horrible, tragic car crash, and we've all been heavily sedated from it. If we don't come into consciousness of this tragedy, there's going to be a violent awakening we don't want. The question is, can we wake up?"
"People who are sick, or who have been sick, or have come close to death have a lot to say - and they want you to hear it."
"Learning is a tunnel experience that makes us think more broadly."
"Somehow we can't live outside the politics of race. There's something very deep in all of us, that is taught to us when we are very, very little. Which is the disrespect and fear of the other."
"I feel like my work has been my path to freedom from having grown up in a segregated environment."