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« The 'Group Think' of Debt | Main | Allowing for the music »

Community Stunned by Murder of Young Activist

By Ally Klimkoski
July 7, 2008

An amazing activist in Lawrence, Kansas was murdered this week by her ex-boyfriend. Jana Mackey was a 25-year-old law student. After a short time working for political campaigns and serving as one of the youngest lobbyists at the Kansas State House, her life was cut tragically short.

A friend of Mackey's posted on a blog about her shock and disbelief:

"The last time I saw her was almost a week ago at Henry's - as lively person I can imagine. Its still not quite sinking in that the most alive person I know is not..."

According to a blog post by a friend and colleague of Mackey's:

" She defended women, women's rights, and the access to health care not to mention the dozens of other local issues that she was so passionate about.

In 2006 it was easy to know who I needed at my side when starting another campaign. I begged her to be my deputy campaign manager and help keep me organized and help me build relationships with some of the people she'd known at the Capital that previous session....

I remember trying to talk her out of going to law school and telling her how important it was to have people like her out there helping to save the world. She promised she would still work to save the world with me, but said that she was going to do it from a different vantage point."

Mackey also served as a lobbyist for the Kansas Equality Coalition. In an emailed statement, former Executive Director Tiffany Muller said:

"I remember the very first week of the 2005 session walking into the Capitol and meeting Jana for the first time. She was one of the youngest lobbyists (if not the youngest lobbyist) there, but she quickly made herself a 'go to' person. She was so friendly and outgoing and motivated and was always ready to help do what was needed."

This dear friend and remarkable activist will most be remembered as an Advocate with local domestic violence organizations. Sarah Jane Rusell, Executive Director of Ga Du Gi Safe Center where Mackey worked, says:

"Advocates are people who are on call 24/7 ... they do the front-line work with victims; they’re the ones who have heart. It takes a heart, and it takes being honey on steel, and she had that ... she had everything, and above all she had compassion for others."

In a tragic case like this, Jana would want me to remind everyone that domestic violence is a too often forgotten plague on our culture. Young women are particularly susceptible to abuse according to the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

One in four American women report being raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date at some time in their lifetime, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey, conducted from November 1995 to May 1996...
On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner."

To help women who are victims of domestic violence you can volunteer in your local community the way Jana did. Legislatively, you can urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor the International Violence Against Women Act.

A scholarship as the University of Kansas Law School has been set up in her memory and you may contribute there:
Jana Mackey Support for Public Advocacy Fund
c/o Dean of Law
Green Hall
1535 W. 15th St.
Lawrence, KS 66045

In your memory, Jana.

(Crossposted from Wiretap Magazine)

Comments (1)

Travis Mackey Author Profile Page:

The family suggests memorials to the Northwest Kansas Domestic & Sexual Violence Services in Hays or the Jana Mackey Support of Public Advocacy Fund at the Kansas University School of Law, sent in care of the funeral home.

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