Remembering Georgia Lee Moses: A Girl Who Touched So Many People
In this world, you have to fight to be relevant... #JusticeForGeorgiaLeeMoses
My sister's death left a void that I just couldn't shake. I found myself dealing with it by not dealing with it. In fact, I was in denial about her being gone. It didn't help that her funeral was closed casket. I vividly remember fighting the urge to open it. I wanted proof that Georgia was actually gone. Thankfully, someone stopped me from actually opening it. A few months ago, I learned that my sister was officially buried almost a year after her death, so had I opened that casket, I would have seen the same emptiness I felt.
In the midst of the pain and denial of Georgia's death, the memories of her, brought an unexplainable comfort. I used to think I must have been that young kid who thought the world of the their older sibling just because. I now know I thought the world of my sister because she truly was a special person. Georgia was a world changer. She impacted so many people's lives while she was here. Even after her death, Georgia's impact continued on.
Following Georgia's death, two local firefighters built a memorial for her along the highway where her body was found. Road reconstruction resulted in the the memorial, which included a metal angel sculpture, needing to be moved. Today, the memorial sits at Petaluma City Hall.
Shortly after her death, the mother of one of Georgia's friends started a support group for young girls.
"After her death, I wanted to reach other girls who felt like they just didn't have that support they needed," said Jeannie Kelly.
Kelly said she felt compelled to start the group before Gerogia's death but didn't know how to go about doing it. "I really didn't know what to do or how to do it, so I put it off."
Kelly said the lack of recognition Georgia's case received, in compassion to that of another young girl, who was murdered a few years earlier, helped her get started. Kelly ran the group for eight years.
In 1999, a woman by the name of Lia Rowley, founded The Sonoma County Children's Village in Georgia's memory. In 2006, after countless donations, the village opened its doors to neglected and abused children foster children.
Unfortunately, due to funding issues, the village closed in 2015. Earlier this year, Sonoma County Children’s Village transferred a legacy gift of $2.5 million (Sonoma County Children's Village Legacy Fund) to TLC Child and Family Services.
According to the tlc4kids.org website, in addition to the legacy gift, the Georgia Moses memorial rock was also given to TLC. "It has been given a special place on the beautiful TLC campus near Sebastopol," said a representative for TLC.
The story no one told...
The stories written about Georgia over the years said she was "troubled" and even said she was a middle school drop out. For many years, I allowed these narratives to bother me. Now, I take pity on the various journalist who took the easy route of checking the block on writing a story about a girl, many felt the world didn't care about.
If you ask any of her friends to tell you about Georgia you'd be amazed at how special she truly was. Even under the circumstances of basically having to care for herself, her littler sister and her mother, at the age of 12, Georgia stayed out of trouble. She was there for her friends and somehow, managed to stayed positive.
"Georgia always had a huge smile on her face," said Enorina Gonzalez, a close friend of Georgia growing up. "I never took so many pictures as young girl until me and Georgia hung out. She was so smart and funny, and a great dancer."
Samantha Nixon, another friend of Georgia, reflected on her fondest memory of Georgia using the hashtag #RememberingGeorgiaLeeMoses on Facebook. Playing on the playground behind my house next to Richard Crane Elementary School, you and Dominique taught me how to skip rope. Us playing I think it’s called hopscotch? It’s funny the things that stick in your memory. Sometimes it’s a comfort as well. Your laugh and smile are the things I remember the most I think, you always made me feel happy. I think that doesn’t even measure or describe the light you brought me and others the short time we got to have you in our lives though. I remember you for all the beauty and greatness you were Georgia and won’t ever forget.
Over the years, Georgia's friends have actively pushed for justice in her case.
They have created social media pages in Georgia's memory, made flyers and countless social media posts asking for any information that will lead to Georgia's killer getting caught.
I recently connected with these friends. The amount of love and support I've received is unbelievable. They've made numerous phone calls to law enforcement, sent emails,
reached out to different entities for help and so much more. They did these things because of their love for my sister and the impact she made on their lives.
It took nearly 23 years for me to really come to grips with the reality of my sister's death. I prayed about it and decided it was finally time to take a stand in the pursuit of justice for my sister. One of the final pushes for me was seeing a reward flyer a few months ago. That flyer was posted by one of Georgia's friends, Victoria Walker.
"I have been praying for justice for Georgia and it has been weighing on my heart," said Walker. "In 2017, I googled Georgia and I realized that her case was never solved. Since then, I found the Justice for Georgia Lee Moses Facebook page and I found other friends of Georgia dedicated to the pursuit of justice for her."
Georgia has brought so many people together. Before I started on this journey of seeking justice for my sister, I foresaw just how laborious and stressful it would be. Fortunately for me, I've encountered a group of people that have united with me and have made this process something special. They are there every step of the way asking where they can help and checking on me to make sure I'm doing okay.
Some of Georgia's friends have shared their own personal stories, and I'm moved to tears to know that despite the hardships they've endured, Georgia was a positive constant for them.
Walker described Georgia in these three words: sunshine, light and hope. "That’s how I remember her, a ray of light, always positive and kind."
If I could, I would bring Georgia back for a moment just to share her with the world. In just a few minutes, her smile could melt away your pain. Her laughter could shatter your fears, doubts, and insecurities. Her presence could inspire you to not only do better but be better.
Every now and again, you come across people who are truly unforgettable. Something about them sets them apart from everyone else you've ever met - that was my sister.
Georgia was a born leader, nurturer, friend, protector, dancer, comedian, problem solver, optimist, teacher and protector. She was ambitious, genuine and I was blessed to be her sister.
Even with the void from Georgia not being here today, I am truly thankful to have the opportunity to see the positive impact she has left.
Together, we will create change and together we will be change. Stay tuned for the Georgia Lee Moses Legacy Foundation.