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Siwatu-Salama Ra

Gilda Radner in LOVE, GILDA, a Magnolia Pictures Release.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Today on Stateside, a young activist in Detroit is appealing her conviction for pulling an unloaded gun on another woman in what she says was self-defense. Plus, the ups and downs of the family restaurant are the focus of Ann Arbor writer Lillian Li’s debut novel.

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Siwatu-Salama Ra is a young Detroit activist who was sentenced to two years in prison for brandishing a licensed and unloaded firearm in what she claims was an act of self-defense. Her conviction has raised questions about the nature of black gun ownership in the United States.

Siwatu-Salama Ra with her daughter, Zala.
Family photo

A 26-year-old, pregnant environmental activist is serving a two-year sentence at Michigan’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility right now.

But Siwatu-Salama Ra says she acted in self-defense when she pulled a gun on another woman last summer during an altercation outside her mother’s Detroit home.