Siwatu-Salama Ra | Michigan Radio
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Siwatu-Salama Ra

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

A defiant Siwatu-Salama Ra vowed to continue fighting against "unjust prosecutions" on Friday outside the 3rd Circuit Court in Detroit, where she had just pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of brandishing a weapon.

Ra spent nine months in prison for brandishing an unloaded gun at another woman during a dispute.  She claimed it was self-defense. She had no criminal record; the other woman involved in the dispute had three criminal convictions and was on parole at the time.

Family photo

In a rare move, the Michigan Court of Appeals has reversed the jury conviction of an environmental justice activist sentenced to two years in prison for brandishing a gun during a 2017 altercation in Detroit.

Siwatu-Salama Ra claims she acted in self-defense when she pointed her licensed, unloaded weapon at another woman. Ra, her mother and niece all testified at trial that the woman was enraged, and using her car as a weapon to threaten Ra’s mother and two-year-old daughter.

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.

Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

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.