On July 3, 2008, Jana Mackey lost her life to violence perpetrated by an ex-boyfriend in Lawrence, Kansas. The 25-year-old KU law student was an advocate for women’s rights and had spent years volunteering to aid victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Jana represented the new generation of American feminists. As a passionate social and women’s activist, Jana fought for equality and social justice at every turn.

Jana's-grave-side-view-400x260Jana’s young life was filled with examples of a young successful activist. As an undergraduate Women’s Studies student she organized the Kansas delegation of Kansas women who marched on Washington D.C. in 2004. She served as a staff member on both state and national campaigns for female candidates. She actively participated in the Kansas Commission on the Status of Women and from 2004-2006 Jana served as a lobbyist at the Kansas State Capitol, where she represented the Kansas National Organization for Women.

Despite being one of the youngest lobbyists in the State Capitol, she effectively promoted a pro-women’s agenda. Time and time again, Jana showed her courage and her ability as a skilled negotiator fighting for issues most important to women. Finally, Jana’s short career included six years of volunteerism at the GaDuGi Safe Center. There Jana was described as “honey on steel” working to reduce all forms of sexual violence against women.

In March of 2008, Jana attended a Women’s Leadership Conference, where she was asked to prioritize her top personal values. Jana identified her most important value as “equality for all persons,” and her second most important as “the courage to stand up for her own beliefs.” Jana ‘walked’ her values. With these values, coupled with her years of activism, lobbying and political experience, Jana believed that a law degree was the next step in her journey to become the most effective advocate possible for women and other underrepresented groups.

  • “Jana Mackey was to the United States and Kansas Constitutions as light is to stained glass. She was intelligent, strong and a courageous advocate, fearless in her pursuit of freedom, justice and equality for all. Jana took the lofty principles found in our constitutions and worked hard to insure their protection and application. She was a remarkable young woman.”
    – Pedro Luis Irigonegaray

  • “You left us too soon, but you also left a legacy that few of your young age could claim. We are all challenged to carry on your dedication to peace, love, and justice. Know that you are missed, and that your life made a difference.”
    – Bill Woodward

  • “I’ve never met a person more excited to experience the world or more dedicated to changing it.”
    – Trish Schroeder


In Her Honor

In honor of Jana Mackey, her childhood church, Trinity Lutheran Church of Hays, Kansas, has developed Jana’s Closet for women in need. The purpose of Jana’s Closet is to provide free, gently used professional women’s clothing for women looking to enter or re-enter the job market.

Award-winning singer and songwriter Lance Stafford has written and recorded a song in honor of Jana and her legacy.

“Jana’s Light Will Shine”    Click here to listen

The GaDuGi Safe Center established the Jana L. Mackey Butterfly Garden in the Lawrence United Way Courtyard on May 7, 2009 – See Video

In recognition of International Women’s Day, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius proclaims March 8, 2009 as “Jana Mackey Day in Kansas” and calls on all Kansans to serve.

On March 5th & 9th, 2009, the Kansas Senate and the Kansas House of Representatives honored Jana and called on Kansans to join the 1100 Torches Campaign..

WSU Center for Women’s Studies and its advisory board is pleased to announce that Jana Mackey will be honored in the Wichita State University “Plaza of Heroines” by the Wichita NOW. – See Link

For the second time, Kansas Congressman Jerry Moran has gone to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to talk about Jana and Domestic Violence.
See Video 10/2/08
See Video 10/20/09

Kansas NOW has created the Jana Mackey Action Fund to provide resources for public policy and lobbying efforts with the Kansas legislature.

In recognition of International Women’s Day and the 2009 Proclamation of Jana Mackey Day in Kansas, Jana’s family and friends set aside a day of service every year in March. “Jana Mackey Day of Service” volunteers provide community service in both Hays and Lawrence, Kansas on issues related to gender-based violence.

Darrell Hamlin is collaborating with Christie and Curt Brungardt to write a manuscript about Jana’s life and her legacy. Share your stories about Jana or how her legacy has moved you.

The Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series has been established at KU for the purpose of bringing national speakers to campus on issues of women’s rights – See Link

The Kansas Clothes Drive for Women has been established in honor of Jana Mackey and Cari McGrath. Donated clothes are sent to women’s organizations across Kansas – See Link

On December 5, 2008 Jana posthumously received the Paul E. Wilson Advocacy Award from the Kansas Association for Justice – See Link

The Jana Mackey Support for Public Advocacy Fund at the University of Kansas Law School is used to provide stipends to law students who work in public interest organizations. Several Jana Mackey fellows are selected each summer.

A fund has been established in Jana’s name at the Northwest Kansas Sexual and Domestic Violence Services. These funds are used to provide needed services for victims– Hays, Kansas – See Link

In honor of Jana the Eleven Hundred Torches Campaign was created to encourage others to make a difference. To date, volunteerism has been recorded in 19 states and 4 foreign countries. – See Link