The most unlikely of domestic violence victims, Jana Mackey, was found dead in her ex-boyfriend's home on July 3, 2008. 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 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 Democratic campaigns. 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 Kansas National Orginization 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 three 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 Lynne Mackey was the kind of woman that inspired others. She inspired through her words, her song, her actions. Jana was beautiful, intelligent and kind. She was an advocate, a friend, a sister, a daughter. She was magnetic. She was a bright spot in an ordinary day. She was a hero.