Posted by: joshjasper | January 13, 2011

Honor Her Memory

I’ve been asked to say a few words during a candlelight vigil for Cecelia Harris this Saturday night.  Before Cecelia could make it to her second birthday, she was murdered this past summer.  Tamelia Harris, Cecelia’s mother, is in custody and is charged with murdering her daughter.  The Dubuque Police Department found Cecilia’s bones buried in the backyard and neighbors witnessed Tamelia burning things in a fire pit leading up to the discovery of Cecelia’s remains.

After being asked to speak at the vigil, I came across the affidavit that provides details about Cecelia’s life that are difficult to read.  A number of witnesses were interviewed, providing great insight into the life of Tamelia Harris.  A neighbor reported that Tamelia shared with her that she did not like how her daughter looked at her and that she never had a bond with her.  “I don’t like the way that bitch looks at me.”

Another acquaintance of Tamelia reported that Tamelia had confided in her that she slammed Cecelia’s head on the headboard within the master bedroom and then threw the child into the closet.  DNA obtained later confirmed this report, finding blood in the closet.

The affidavit has countless other examples of people knowing that Cecelia was being abused by her mother, but yet did nothing to intervene.  Not a call was made to DHS, not a question was asked of Tamelia.  Cecelia’s life most definitely could have been spared had someone intervened.

Everyday we are faced with the decision of what type of bystander we are going to be in any given situation, and more often than not, we choose the passive role.  We can begin saving lives tomorrow by becoming an active bystander today.  Stop assuming that someone else is going to do the right thing.  How many times must it be proven that “they” are not going to do it before you decide to do something?

Please honor Cecelia by taking your own stand against child abuse.  I hope to see you Saturday night.





  1. thank you for supporting Cece. I look forward to working with you. Remember~ you can always count on me if you need help.

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