Social Justice Poetry

The Night I Didn’t Stand Up | A Social Justice Poem by Tricia Knoll

That rock concert in New Haven, Connecticut took me by surprise
and why – the national anthem and the crowd was ready,
as one the many stood and hooted for the band.

I didn’t, a white girl whose knees knocked and never thought
of kneeling. Short of breath under the video of carpet bombing
of Cambodia, over the top, over the edge saturation
killing in Cambodia. And this was my country ’tis of thee

I sat in protest. Forty years later the black man kneeled
in more courage than I had in a pot-smoke crowd.
I ducked when some guy yelled I should stand
but there are times when you can’t, when the wrong

is too great, and the great isn’t great enough. So when
Judge Ruth says it’s wrong not to stand but not illegal
I know it can be right and the only thing you can do,
and perhaps it’s better to let wrong drive you to your knees

than sit like a numb ass.

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2 thoughts on “The Night I Didn’t Stand Up | A Social Justice Poem by Tricia Knoll

  1. Donal Mahoney

    A very moving poem but I don’t know if the United States, as a nation, is as much at fault as the people in it and the people who run it. People take a knee for different reasons and some are cheered for doing so and some are mocked. I would not feel so bad for sitting. I would stand for the nation if not for many of the people in it but I would have no problem if folks on either side of me took a knee especially if one was a Native American, the still relatively silent minority with so much to kneel about now and in the past.