On Friday 16 June 2017, the UK will mark the one year anniversary of Labour MP Jo Cox’s tragic murder.
Twelve months ago, Jo was killed by far-right extremist Thomas Mair on the streets on her constituency in West Yorkshire. Mair had links to Nazi groups and an interest in white supremacy. Reports say he considered Jo Cox as an enemy of Britain due to her pro-immigration, pro-diversity and pro-EU views.
Jo’s murder shocked the country and the wider world. She had been an enthusiastic campaigner for human rights, the safety and security of refugees, and for community cohesion.
In fact, in her first ever speech as an MP in 2015, Jo had declared that, “we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us”. It was a sentence that came to define not only her, but a powerful mantra which has reverberated throughout the country.
Jo’s murder brought to light the dangers of far-right extremism in the UK. There are many extreme far-right groups operating in Britain.
Speaking after Mair was convicted of the murder, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “I am determined that we challenge extremism in all its forms including the evil of far-right extremism and the terrible damage it can cause to individuals, families and communities.”
Jo’s family are continuing her work to create a lasting legacy based on her beliefs of positive social change.
On the weekend of 16 – 18 June, the Jo Cox Foundation is organising The Great Get Together, inviting people to join with their neighbours to share food and celebrate all that we hold in common. “It could be a street party or a shared barbecue, a picnic or a bake off. What matters is that we have fun and bring communities closer together,” they say.
It’s thought that more than 100,000 events will be held across the UK as part of The Great Get Together. It’s an amazing initiative, inspired by Jo Cox, designed to unite people around Britain and open up dialogue and form new friendships regardless of faith or ethnicity.
“We believe there is a groundswell of people who reject divisive politics and simply want to bring our communities together and celebrate all that unites us. This is our chance,” say the organisers.
It’s perhaps now more important than ever that we learn to respect and understand other people’s way of life, their faith, their culture – and in turn most probably discover that, as Jo famously said, we have more in common with each other than things that divide us.