Spotlight on: Tiny Queens
Seeing a consistent lack of representation for girls of color in the media and in the world in general, Denise Harmon and her co-founder LaTosha Tanner knew what they needed to do. In September of 2017 they established Tiny Queens — a nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that girls of color love themselves and each other. Black girl magic is real and these Tiny Queens, ranging in age from 5 to 17, are the future!
Caring about our community comes naturally to Denise. Both she and LaTosha were born and raised in Inglewood; their families residing here in the city for over 30 years. Denise grew up on Queen Street right around the corner from the park. Though she no longer lives in Inglewood and now resides in Riverside, she has continued her commitment to her beloved hometown, driving over 60 miles to hold the Tiny Queens meetings every 3rd Sunday of each month.
Denise relishes the relationships that she’s created throughout the years and the special bonds that come from being raised in a smaller community. “I’m still friends with all the kids that I grew up with. Inglewood is not a huge city where you get lost in the crowd. It’s a city that you are proud to come from, even once you are gone.”
Still, she knows Inglewood’s got room to improve and grow. “I wish we had more community events and that there was a way to know about all the existing places that are in the city to hold events. Also having more money to go towards the schools. It’s so important to better our future generations. To invest in them and push them forward because they will be our future business owners, teachers, athletes and community leaders. When the school district is controlled by someone that is far away (State of California) how can they know what needs to get done in our local schools? Our district needs to be controlled locally and to benefit directly from the taxes from these big developments.”
When it comes to Inglewood’s new development projects, Denise is pragmatic. “I feel like change is inevitable whether you think it’s good or bad. Projects like these are positive if they can provide local residents more employment and give youth a variety of employment positions that they can work toward. Residents just want the opportunity to stay in the city they love and to be here for all the positive changes that are happening and that will happen in the future.”
For now the future of Inglewood’s 15 to 25 Tiny Queens look bright! They just need to secure a venue for their upcoming Gala. “It’s been a whirlwind trying to find a venue. Unfortunately, the venue that we had cancelled a week before our Gala.” With 100 attendees confirmed, Denise and LaTosha have decided to postpone the event until September, to coincide with their one year anniversary. In the meantime the Tiny Queens continue leanring to value self-love, black history, education and overall black excellence!