Candlelight vigil to remember victims, show support for survivors of domestic violence

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In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October, community members on Thursday are invited to participate in a candlelight vigil in downtown Lawrence.

Organized by #BeMoreLikeClaire, “the vigil will provide an opportunity for the community to remember victims, honor survivors and explore ways to act to make a difference,” according to a news release.

#BeMoreLikeClaire is an organization created to continue the legacy of Claire VanLandingham, who was a promising young Navy dentist who loved to volunteer. She was “a bright light and had big plans to make the world a more fair, compassionate, and loving place for all people,” according to the organization’s website

Claire was 27 years old when she was murdered by an ex-boyfriend, and her mother, Shannon VanLandingham, founded #BeMoreLikeClaire to carry on the advocacy work she knows Claire would have been dedicated to, according to the release.

The Clothesline Project is one of many efforts through #BeMoreLikeClaire. Survivors are encouraged to create depictions of their stories on T-shirts, which creates a visual display representing the detriments of domestic violence. Victims’ loved ones are encouraged to participate using their experiences as well.

“The public exhibit is a testament to the effect of domestic violence in our community,” the news release said.

Those who wish to participate in the Clothesline Project are asked to bring a white or light-colored T-shirt that can be “decorated with a story or message of solidarity,” according to the news release. Markers, clothespins and extra shirts will be available on-site.

The event is scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 at the east side of South Park, near the small stage between the gazebo and the courthouse.

Activities, including a resource fair and T-shirt making for the Clothesline Project, will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program and candlelight vigil at 6:15. There will also be live music and guest speakers.

Alongside #BeMoreLikeClaire, organizations who will be present sharing resources include the Willow Domestic Violence Center, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Douglas County, Ballard Center, The Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center, Douglas County Moms Demand Action, Be SMART, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, and the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity.

Visit this link to learn more about the event.

Get help in Lawrence

Domestic violence situations: The Willow Domestic Violence Center
  • Reach the Willow for help 24/7 at 785-843-3333.
  • Find more resources on the Willow’s website at this link.
  • National hotline: Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), text “START” to 88788, and/or visit to chat and learn more, 24/7.
File for an order of protection

In Kansas, victim-survivors of stalking and abuse can file for court orders of protection from abuse or stalking online. Visit and follow the instructions on the website. The service is available for any county in Kansas. You can also file for a protection order with traditional paper forms; check this link for more information.

Learn the warning signs

Read about warning signs of domestic violence and emotional abuse and learn how you can help at this link.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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