On March 27, 2012 we lost Jordan (Jo) to suicide. Jo was a young woman who touched hundreds of people in her short life with extraordinary love, tenderness and kindness. Other than the competitive genes she displayed on the basketball court she didn’t have a mean bone in her body. She was the oldest of three children in the Harris Family of North Richland Hills, Texas and had an incredibly close bond with her siblings and parents. Her heart was “oversized”, her sole passion in life was to help others, regardless of their need and she always did it with a beautiful smile on her face. Jordan’s sense of humor was endless, she was always playing practical jokes on friends and family.
Jo was truly gifted, there were few things she couldn’t do. She was constantly challenging herself to try new things, take new adventures and come up with new ideas on how to make this world a better place. She was valedictorian of her high school class, a National Merit Scholarship winner, a Stamps scholar at the University of Michigan, an athlete, musician and most importantly a warm, friendly, compassionate young woman. She accomplished much in a very short time with tremendous humility. Through Jordan’s efforts with United 2 Heal, (a Ghana healthcare relief effort at U of M), a battered woman’s shelter in Boston, Catholic Charities of Fort Worth and many other philanthropic efforts she continually demonstrated a desire to help those who were most in need. Her major at Michigan was Organizational Studies, a course of study focused on developing and educating students who plan on entering the social justice world. As a matter of fact, the School of Organizational Studies created a Social Justice award in Jordan’s name after she died, each year it is given to an Organizational Studies senior "who exemplifies Jordan’s passion for the study of non-profit organizations and for the pursuit of social good which were an inspiration to others”.
Jo’s friends and family will tell you she lit up the room when she entered and was passionate about making the people around her feel good about themselves. This virtue, along with Jo’s desire to make a difference in this world, makes it difficult to understand why she was taken from us at such an early age. Jordan suffered from severe depression the last six months of her life which led to her death. She was a gift from God who made the world a much better place in which to live. Jordan will be loved forever by her friends and family and will be missed by all. The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation has been created to honor her life and allow us to continue her lifelong passion of helping those in need by focusing on research and awareness related to depression and suicide.
Excerpt from the letter of a friend of Jordan’s to her family after Jordan’s death:
Jordan was a really incredible person and friend and I miss her very much. Jordan had a way of only noticing the best qualities in people. I’m sure she was aware of their flaws but she chose to focus on the good things. She was, and remains, a huge inspiration in my life. I want to be the person who Jordan saw me as- the best version of myself. If I can bring even a fraction of the love and happiness that Jordan brought into my life to the life of someone else, then that is the most fitting tribute I can manage for her. It is a difficult task, but her memory motivates me each day to try to love the way she did.