Jan Jones, director of Safehope, will be in Topeka next week to speak with legislators. At this time there are no specific pieces of legislation she will be advocating for, but she does have a story she needs to tell.
“I will share the impact on Harvey County and the surrounding area of the Excel shooting, and the connection to domestic violence,” Jones said. “I'll also talk about the ongoing recovery efforts we see right now.”
Prior to the shooting, Cedric Ford was served papers — protection from abuse orders. He left work, went home, got a gun and started shooting at random cars on his way back to Excel in Hesston. At Excel, he shot and killed three people before he was shot by law enforcement.
“The protection order, and I don't want to go into a lot of detail, the association with domestic abuse with a victim in Wichita and here in Harvey County, also, is connected,” Jones said.
At the capitol, she will be part of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence 14th Annual Advocacy day at the Capitol on Feb. 8. More than two dozen advocacy programs from across the state will focus on domestic and sexual violence. The attention will be focused on increasing awareness of issues of sexual and domestic violence in Kansas and the services that are offered across the state.
The day will feature a “Silent Witness Silhouette” display on the second floor Statehouse Rotunda.
“We do this on an annual basis to remember the lives of the people we have served,” Jones said.
The Silent Witness Silhouettes are the stories of victims who lost their lives to sexual and domestic violence in Kansas by paying homage to their memory in full-size silhouettes accompanied by names and stories.
“We are always honored to have all of the Silent Witness Silhouettes in one place,” said Joyce Grover, KCSDV executive director. “This display provides a powerful impact and stands as witness to those that were victims of sexual and domestic violence in Kansas.”
There will be a program at 12:30 p.m. on the second floor Rotunda. Speakers will include Joyce Grover; Laura Patzner, KCSDV Board President; and Jones.
Programs from across the state will also have displays on the first floor of the Statehouse.
Kansas Sexual and Domestic Violence advocacy programs regularly serve more than 20,000 victims, respond to over 25,000 crisis hotline calls, and provide over 50,000 hours of crisis counseling annually. “It is our intent that Advocacy Day will educate policymakers and the public about the impact of this type of violence in Kansas," Grover said.