Student Spotlight: Imari McCabe

“Hands up, don’t shoot!” This is the cry heard in Ferguson and the surrounding area since the shooting of 18-year-old Normandy High School graduate, Michael Brown, at close range by a policeman on Aug. 9.

While the event took place in North County, two weeks and more than 150 arrests later, former Ferguson resident sophomore Imari McCabe still deals with the implications every day.

A lot of my friends were calling me saying that a kid that used to stay close by me got shot, so I called my mom to see if she had heard anything about it.”

— Imari McCabe, 10

“I didn’t see exactly what happened, a lot of my friends were calling me saying that a kid that used to stay close by me got shot, so I called my mom to see if she had heard anything about it,” McCabe said. “We just waited, and at the time she didn’t want me to go over there just in case something was about to happen, so I just stayed at home until she got off of work. When she got home we turned on the news and saw everything that was happening. It was a shock that someone who was so close to me got shot straight on by a police officer, who was supposed to be protecting us over in that area.”

The Ferguson Police Department declined to comment on the matter, but McCabe recognizes the existing tension in the area.

“There’s been police in that area before, and there’s been bickering, but nothing extreme,” McCabe said. “Not to the point that people got shot.”

Although McCabe no longer lives in the immediate area of the brunt of the violence brought on by the riots, her family connections make the event hit close to home.

“My grandmother lives over there, and she’s a little in shock because of the riots and everything,” McCabe said. “She’s handling it pretty well, but she’s just scared to walk out her door in case one of the protestors loses their mind and goes off. There’s still that danger in the back of her mind.”

McCabe believes school serves as a chance to get away from Ferguson’s environment.

“The different atmosphere here helps me get my mind off of what’s going on right now, it’s good to see familiar faces,” McCabe said. “But then I go home and I don’t know what’s gonna happen next, and I don’t know half the people I see.”

The riots are happening in the greater St. Louis area, but McCabe has not noticed a change in atmosphere at West.

“It really doesn’t affect people here because they’re still living their day-to-day life,” McCabe said. “They hear about it on the news but just as long as it doesn’t affect them, they think they’re fine, while the people who are actually over there seeing it and having to go through it see it differently”

McCabe wants students to know how they can help out.

“Try to be friendly to the kids that stay over there,” McCabe said. “You should ask them if they’re okay so they don’t have to focus on it, and they won’t have the constant reminder that it is going on. It would be nice to not think about it for a little while.”