by Robert Misciagna
Here we go again...
I was hoping to be able to write less about the merits of the Black Lives Matter movement and to transition to policy solutions that would help our Black and Brown communities as well as the working class. I assumed that we, as a community, were about ready for that next step. Obviously I was wrong.
I have seen several posts comparing the death, outrage, and media coverage of Cannon Hinnant to that of George Floyd and other martyrs. The way I see it, this is obviously an attempt to portray the Black Lives Matter movement and racial justice activists as hypocritical, apathetic, and silent. All while exploiting the death of a young innocent boy in order to force a narrative onto an issue that is unrelated.
This is especially apparent when many of those elevating the story have adopted the Black Lives Matter phrase “say his name”.
It is frustrating that we must continue to have the same conversations over and over again. The Black Lives Matter movement came into existence in response to inconsistent outcomes for Black and Brown victims compared to white victims, and how that enables wrong-doers. It was never simply about media coverage and outrage over the deaths of innocents. We already have laws on the books that affirm the immorality of murder. That was never in question. The problem is that the system often treats the cases of victims very differently based on the color of the victim/perpetrator’s skin, or the position of the person who committed the crime.
The fact is that Cannon’s killer was not a police officer, and he is already in jail. He is a terrible person who will likely get what he deserves. And that is a justice that many victims of hate crimes and police brutality may never see. It never took a mass movement for Cannon Hinnant’s murderer to be held accountable. It shouldn’t. But it did for George Floyd. And mass movements haven’t even been enough for Breonna Taylor’s family to see justice. Or Eric Garner’s. Or Philando Castile’s. Or Alton Sterling’s. Or Elijah McClain’s. The list goes on. THAT is why BLM is necessary. That is why their work is not finished. And that is why Cannon Hinnant’s death and that of the many victims of racially motivated crimes ARE NOT THE SAME.
Again, the outcome of this young boy’s case is a righteous one. The justice he is receiving, although no replacement for his life, is a good thing. That’s why it needs to happen for all victims.
Cannon Hinnant’s death was unnecessary and disgusting. But it is not a weapon to be used against the Black Lives Matter movement and to discredit efforts for racial justice. RIP Cannon.