Social Justice Poetry

resilience poems

Emancipation | A Social Justice Poem by Langley Shazor

To whom it may concern
I tender my resignation
I will no longer fetch
For though lashings
Have lessened canines
There is still bite
In this old dog
My shoes are hard
And I shall dance for you
No longer
Whispers in the dark
Will gain decibels in the light
Your failed attempts
To cut my tongue
Has only removed
All the “yessahs” and “massuhs” from my vocabulary
My fate is my own
Stained posts
Bearing fathers, sons, daughters, mothers, sisters, brothers
On the verge of collapse
From the weight of injustice
Rope-worn limbs buckle
As I make my last knot
And exit these killing fields

Tears of My Ancestors | A Social Justice Poem by James Gregory Paul Sr.

a tear fell that day
from the coast of ivory
for the souls of juillet, jimi,
babet and bambara

and landed in washington dc

a tear fell that day
from a plantation in mississippi
for jude, whipped and smoked
cealy, leashed and yoked
phoebe, tarred and feathered
jupiter, penned and tortured

and landed in washington dc

a tear fell that day
from a tree in lynchburg
an unmarked grave in baton rouge
a baptist church in alabama
a bloody balcony in tennessee

and landed in washington dc

a tear fell that day
from the joy of my ancestors
for barack hussein obama

the first black president of the u.s.a.

Visit James at

This poem is featured in my recently published book – Kneeling for Justice – and independently reviewed at

Inner Hollow, USA | A Social Justice Poem by G. Louis Heath

Someone is watching me, obsessed with vengeance.
I think I saw them last night. Their eyes flared bright

incandescent red with hatred for what I am. They
watch me every waking hour. I walk outside wearing

a kabuki mask of indifference riveted to my face, but
I am afraid, very afraid. My friend shows no fear. He

has journeyed deep inside himself where they cannot
reach. Only a shell of him stands before me, his words

echoing from his hollowness. I wander alone in a daze,
haunted by his emptiness, full of nothingness. He is a

hollow man now, full of the pain of oblivion. I remain
worth their vigilance for I am not yet hollow. I’ll be

circumspect in what I do, I mean really careful. I’ll stay
not yet hollow, never as hollow as the actually hollow.

Poets Needed | A Social Justice Poem by Heidi Seaborn

The world needs poets to create gardens
from stinking compost and the bitter seeds
of this season’s harvest, to dig with our bare
hands into the moldy refuse, loosen air
into the soil, thumb seeds and bulbs
in orderly tracks, cover gently and soak
until the dirt compacts again.

Months after a new President’s sworn in,
snow recedes into grey slush.
Then the poets’ work emerges
in vibrant green nubs and shoots.
Out of the softening earth grow white
snow drops and fragrant hyacinths, blue
crocus, crested iris and red tulips. Dogwood
and cherry trees burst brilliant overhead.

Division | A Social Justice Poem by Alexis Garcia

Since when did white America
Become the right America
I’ll tell you
Once shackles and chains
Got replaced by ignorant brains
They think we have welcomed
Prejudices and absurd allegations
Since we have become a divided nation
Since some fight the grossness of injustice
With protests in abundance
They tend to focus on the ones who pretend
Not to notice that we as a society
Are reverting back to a time
Where rights were conditional, not given
Where the color of your skin
Was used for target practice
And you were driven,
Almost to extinction
Because of the distinction between us and them
It’s been hard to determine
Who’s foe and who’s friend
Thanks to their privilege
We get to sit back
While they pillage our homes
It takes a village…
To raise a child
But as soon as they step outside
They’re stepping into the wild
Lines are getting blurred
Tensions are brewing
Racism Trumps human decency
They ignore the fact that
We are the ones they are screwing
With rapid frequency, they hunt us down
And the sound of our exhausted voices
Amplifies their need to subdue
Our personal choices.
They take silence as a sign of defeat
They take silence as a sign of acceptance
From the beginning of time
We were never the ones to retreat
But snap back into reality
And come to our senses
At the expense of our sanity
We let those who came from
The Caucasus Mountains
Straight to the oval office
Profit off of our sorrows
They have stolen our lands
But convince us that they just borrow
With no intention of returning
It’s concerning how little resistance
There is on our part
The fight’s never over
They may try to poison our minds
But they can’t infiltrate our hearts.