Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series

A picture of a woman smiling at the camera with her hands framing her face. her nails are painted red

About the Lecture Series

In honor and memory of Jana Lynne Mackey, the University of Kansas established the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity's "Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series" in 2009. 

On July 3, 2008, Jana Lynne Mackey lost her life to violence perpetrated by an ex-boyfriend in Lawrence, Kansas. The 25-year-old University of Kansas law student was an advocate for women’s rights and "equality for all persons." She spent years volunteering to aid victims and survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence. 

In an effort to continue her important work, this lecture series was established to raise awareness about feminist issues close to Jana's heart, with the purpose of enhancing understanding, calling for activism, and providing a platform for discussion.

About Jana

Jana was well-known throughout Kansas for her feminist and social justice advocacy. She earned her bachelor's degree in Women's Studies from KU and was an active participant in KU's Commission on the Status of Women. Jana also served as one of the youngest lobbyists at the Kansas State Capitol for the National Organization for Women. See Jana's Campaign: About Jana to learn more about Jana's story.

Remembering Jana

“If she had been able to live longer I’m sure she would have made a big difference in the world. But since she can’t, I will try.”

– Kathy Olcott

“To me, Jana was one who had the ability to see past what many of us see on a surface level. She helped people who many deemed to be hopeless, listened to those without a voice, reached out to those who were unreachable, and showed compassion to those who were untouchable…I know that I must strive to take every morsel of regret, rage, fear, and sadness and make it into a positive. That’s what Jana would do, and I challenge myself and others to do the same.”

– Sadie Robb

“As hard as it is to imagine my own life without Jana in it, my heart aches more for a world without Jana. She was the only person I have ever known who had such an infatigueable spirit when it came to fighting the good fight for social justice and women’s rights and was capable of maintaining an outrage at injustice without allowing that outrage to turn her into an angry person.”

– Jennifer Luck

Jana's Campaign

  • In honor of the late Jana Mackey and other victims and survivors of gender and relationship violence, a committed group of activists created Jana’s Campaign, a national organization with the single mission of reducing gender and relationship violence.

  • “We believe it is our responsibility to use the story of Jana’s life and the story of her death to help reduce violence against women."

  • Through our program activities, Jana’s Campaign aims to play a significant role in breaking the cycle of domestic and dating violence and act as a catalyst for social change.

Visit Jana's Campaign online