Detroit’s Own Activist Tangela Harris passed away this Sunday, But her legacy will forever remain in our Hearts.


Written by Negus Vu

Passionate, electrifying and inspiring, Tangela Harris was a heartwarming activist that embodied the Red,Black, Green ideology. Current member of the surging young black power group “New Era Detroit”, Tangela history in Detroit was not only memorable, but profound. Her involvement with many organizations such as the Peoples Water Board (PWB), Water Brigade, Michigan Welfare Rights and former reporter for Seven Mile Radio was crucial in the movement of galvanizing Detroiters.  Harris was prominent among Detroit activist, if you were involved in any action for social justice, more than likely you knew Tangela. Her recent project, “The Ride Of Detroit” along with co-hosts Tia Johnson, Kathleen Mclaine and Negus Vu a broadcast show that disseminated information about the socioeconomic inequalities in Detroit was only a fraction of her continuous outreach to the people. She also co-created the ‘Melting Pot’ which was an initiative to support black owned businesses, notably mentioned was one of the only two black owned gas stations in the city of Detroit.


As a Detroit native, Harris had a rough upbringing, face with adversaries such as poverty, and crime in her community, Harris understood the cause and effects, but more importantly the historical context of why things are the way they are.  Tangela decided to fight against these forces (White Supremacy) by propagating self-love, accountability among elected officials, and lastly, full participation in rallies. Tangela’s magnitude of love for the people was insurmountable, the recent water shut-offs in Detroit affected her soul deeply.  She combated back by spreading awareness about the inhumane practices of emergency manager, co-organizing rallies and providing sufficient resources to Detroit residents who were faced with water shut-offs.

Rally with Peoples Water Board. Middle Tangela Harris, Right Monica Lewis Patrick.
Rally with Peoples Water Board. Middle Tangela Harris, Right Monica Lewis Patrick.

Her brave soul was so apparent among anyone she came in contact with. Tangela had a tendency to illuminate the room wherever she went, encouraging any and everybody to do better and get involve in taking action to fight for black liberation. Her biggest passion was uplifting the common people, the poor, the forgotten.

FB_IMG_1445121635185     She recently joined the New Era Detroit (NED), a youthful organization that was in aligned with her beliefs. Tangela presence was immediately felt as soon as she joined, she had several ideals, an explosive personality that everyone gravitated towards. New members loved her because she made everyone feel welcome.  Tangela recently came up with a great ideal for New Era Detroit, NED will honor that ideal into a program named after her. Unfortunately before she could take leadership in that program, she passed away this Sunday morning at 9:15 am due to complications with asthma, it was a day before her birthday.  She has one daughter Kayla Swaingan, two sisters (one deceased) and a loving supporting mother who will forever cherish her soul. Although it seems Tangela Harris left us too early, her legacy is inspirational to many, therefore she rests in our hearts forever.


There will be a memorial today November 2, 2015 at 958 Lawrence St Detroit, MI 5:00 pm