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Speaker for Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series will discuss violence against LGBTQ communities

Thursday, October 20, 2016

LAWRENCE — The ninth annual Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series returns at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, with Connie Burk in Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union. The lecture, “Queering Engagement: A Kansas Activist Comes Home,” is a conversation about LGBTQ communities, anti-violence activism and building power to make change. 

The University of Kansas established the Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series in honor and memory of a former student. Jana Mackey, a feminist and activist, was murdered in 2008 by her ex-boyfriend. Mackey dedicated her life to social justice and equality for all women. She was also the president of the student activist organization now called Students United for Reproductive and Gender Equity. Mackey was well-known in Kansas for her advocacy for women’s rights and victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. 

The lecture series strives to raise awareness about issues that were important to Mackey. The Emily Taylor Center, Students United in Reproductive and Gender Equity, Jana’s family, and other campus and community organizations collaborate every year to bring a guest speaker for the lecture series. Past lecturers include Pulitzer Prize winner Connie Schultz and television host Melissa Harris-Perry. The lecture series’ goal is to have difficult but necessary conversations about sexual violence and promoting gender equity. 

This year’s speaker, Connie Burk, is an advocate and activist currently directing the NW Network for Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse, or the NW Network, in Seattle. With Connie’s guidance, the Network established the National LGBT Training & Technical Assistance Initiative and the National Q&A Institute. Burk, who attended KU, is also the executive producer of the documentary “A Lot Like You,” author of “Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others,” and a leader in the antiviolence movement. During her time at KU, Burk was a member of many organizations including the February Daughters and Students Against Violence Against Women. She also was the co-director of the Willow Domestic Violence Center. 

Connie Burk will be also be hosting a pre-workshop Monday, Oct. 24, titled “What You Need to Know: Healthy Relationships in the LGBTQ Community,” from noon- 1 p.m. in the Pine Room of the Kansas Union. The post discussion will be Wednesday, Oct. 26, called “Coming to the Table to Make a Difference” from 10-11 a.m. in Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union. 

The lecture, pre-workshop, and post discussion are free and open to the public. 

This lecture series is sponsored by the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity in collaboration with: Sexual & Gender Diversity Center, Students United for Reproductive and Gender Equity, Student Senate, School of Law, School of Social Welfare, Department of Communication Studies, Department of Political Science, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office of Integrity & Compliance, Dole Institute of Politics, Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Spectrum KU, Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Center, Office of Diversity and Equity, Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center, Willow Domestic Violence Center and Jana’s Campaign.