Selah licorice fundraiser helps domestic violence victims

Emily Harris Memorial Foundation will donate proceeds to YWCA Yakima, Perry Technical Institute
Emily Harris Licorice Fundraiser Selah

SELAH, Wash. — In the past year and a half, family and friends of Emily Harris have raised nearly $300,000 to help victims of domestic violence in the Yakima Valley.

Emily Harris was killed Jan 24, 2020 in Selah by her husband —  who police said later took his own life — and left behind two young children. Her death rallied the community to come together to fundraise for YWCA Yakima, which provides shelter and services for survivors of domestic abuse.

“My daughter’s life was taken in domestic violence, so that’s a big deal to me to try to help ladies get out of that,” said Brian Harris, Emily’s father.

The Harris family established the Emily Harris Memorial Foundation to try and make a difference in the lives of people going through something similar to what Emily went through. Friends and family also created the #LiveLikeEmily movement.

“Live Like Emily means to believe in God, believe in family, help others,” Harris said. “Emily was very big on bringing people in if they were alone. If they weren’t a part of the group, she brought them in.”

On the day of Emily’s funeral, those gathered to honor her saw a rainbow overhead. Since then, many of the people who knew Emily or have come to know her through her father’s posts on Facebook see a rainbow and think of her.

“It just makes me get goosebumps when people send me a picture of a rainbow and they say, ‘I saw Emily today,'” Harris said.

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Most of the $300,000 the foundation has raised has gone to YWCA Yakima, but part of it has been dedicated to a scholarship at Perry Technical Institute, where Emily used to teach.

Community members have made direct donations to YWCA Yakima in Emily’s name, but have also responded to creative fundraisers hosted by her loved ones. They’ve sold #LiveLikeEmily merchandise, encouraged donations through the #EmilyShuffleChallenge, held golf tournaments and a series of other memorial events.

“I lived in that kennel last year for three days,” Harris said. “That raised $56,000.”

For the latest fundraiser, the family is selling “The Licorice Guy” licorice, which they found on a trip to Arizona and got permission to buy the candy wholesale and sell it on behalf of the foundation.

The licorice comes in red, black, green apple, cinnamon and blue raspberry flavors; it’s $6 a bag and can be purchased at Brian Harris Used Cars on South First Street in Selah.

“Everybody can help the foundation out; you don’t have to give hundreds of dollars,” Harris said. “Everybody can afford a bag of licorice, so just come buy one bag of licorice and help somebody out and you might save a life.”

There’s also a “Rock Like Emily” benefit concert scheduled Saturday at Hoops Bar in Yakima. Tickets are $20 at the door and include dinner.


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