Jo Cox taught us never to walk by on the other side – let compassion be her legacy

The MP gave voice to the voiceless and fought for the rights of all

Jo Cox outside parliament

 

Over the next few days, weeks and even months ahead, many questions will be asked about the tragic and senseless death of Jo Cox MP.

Why did it happen? What could possibly motivate someone to so callously and in full view of the public murder a dedicated Member of Parliament going about her work – listening to and standing up for those in need with no voice?

It could be that we never truly get all the answers to these questions. But what we must not forget is that amid such a horror, the compassion that unites us was still on show.

There was the 77-year-old man, wounded as reports suggest he sought to intervene to tackle the gunman. I need to repeat that, he ran to the gunman to try and protect Jo Cox.

Then there are those in nearby shops reported to have taken towels to try and help stem the bleeding as Jo lay in the street.

I never knew Jo Cox. We never met. But one thing that seems clear is that the acts of kindness of those who sought to help her perhaps provide the most powerful tribute to Jo’s life.

Look at her activity in parliament and elsewhere and her compassion was clear to see, through a concern and a relentless focus on those who needed someone to stand up for them in a world in which they can feel so helpless.

One only has to read her speech on the so-called Dubs amendment to the Immigration Bill to understand her passion and commitment to the most vulnerable in our world.

She spoke powerfully of the ‘terrified, friendless and profoundly vulnerable child refugees scattered across Europe’ coming from Syria, noting that such children ‘have been exposed to things no child should ever witness’.

And in a reflection of the love for her children so powerful espoused by her husband, Brendan, in his statement last night, she told the Commons that she ‘would risk life and limb to get my two precious babies out of that hellhole’ if it were her children in Syria right now.

Today we must ensure Jo’s commitment not to walk on by as people suffer on the other side of the road is not lost in our political debate and discourse. It was the very compassion that those who sought to help her yesterday demonstrated in abundance.

In her maiden speech to the House of Commons last year, Jo reminded MPs that ‘we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us’.

Whenever politics returns to some sort of normality, let us all commit to ensuring that what unites us all is Jo’s sense of compassion, care, tolerance and respect.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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