I recently learned about the deep, deep injustice done to Siwatu-Salama Ra, a young environmental justice activist who lives with her family in Detroit. According to Ra, during a conflict, a neighbor rammed her car into Ra's while her toddler was inside and then tried to run over Ra and her mother. Ra revealed her unloaded weapon (she is licensed for concealed carry). The neighbor had her arrested and she has just been sentenced to two years in prison.
This story has gotten almost no press, but it's a classic case of self-defense laws not applying to people of color. Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors wrote in The Grio about this young woman. Michigan's Stand Your Ground law did not protect her because the judge decided she was not actually afraid, therefore no need for self defense. Cullors quotes Ra: 'The prosecutor convinced the jury and judge that I lacked fear and that’s not true. I was so afraid, especially for my toddler and mother. I don’t believe they could imagine a Black woman being scared, only mad.'"
To make matters worse, Ra is pregnant and will be giving birth in prison if nothing changes.
I don't think we'll be hearing from the NRA on this. They couldn't be bothered to protect Marissa Alexander or Philando Castile.
You can help with the campaign to free Siwatu by giving money here. They still need to raise about $50,000 for legal defenses and to support the family.
BYP100 and others are calling for us to write Siwatu letters. Do that with these guidelines.
Sign up to join the campaign here.