October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Ilyse Levine-Kanji

In memory of Jack and Jody

In 1993 my mentor, Jack, and our client, Jody, were killed in a mass shooting as they sat in a glass conference room in a San Francisco law firm. The gunman murdered eight innocent people and injured six others before shooting himself. Jack was 35, devoted to social justice work, and had a hearty, infectious belly laugh. Jody was 30. They each left one-year-old babies, who have now graduated college without ever getting to know their loving parents. I wasn’t in the conference room that day because I was vacationing with my parents.

After the shooting, I began having panic attacks. Walking down the street, I would feel like all the buildings were about to crash down on me. I had times when I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I had difficulty getting out of elevators because I felt too scared of what might be waiting outside. To this day, more than 25 years since the shooting, I can’t sit with my back to a window or to a glass wall. If only Jack and Jody had been FACING the glass wall of the conference room, rather than sitting with their backs to the wall, maybe they would have seen the gunman and not been killed. Their murders have profoundly impacted my life.

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