In May, we started our #EveryThreeDays campaign remembering a woman killed by a man. So far in this campaign, we have remembered fifteen women, all killed by a man they knew.
Nineteen out of every twenty murders reflect this fact.
Still, to remember that occasionally a woman is murdered by a stranger, our campaign needs to reflect this statistic.
So far this month, we have remembered Sohbia Khan, Chrissie Azzopardi, Jacqueline Barratt and on June 13th Anne Dunkley. Today three days after writing about Anne – we get to June 16th, and the woman we remember is, of course, Jo Cox.
Jo Cox was the MP for Batley & Spen, situated roughly halfway between Leeds and Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. Jo was a proud member of the Labour Party (something we share) and was murdered by an extremist on June 16th 2016 – exactly five years ago today.
The circumstances of Jo’s death is pretty well known. Walking to her constituents routine surgery in Birstall, she was attacked, shot twice in the head and once in the chest and then stabbed fifteen times outside Birstall’s library by Thomas Mair, a 53-year-old unemployed gardener with connections to Nazism and other extreme right-wing groups.
This led to an outpouring of grief – with politicians from all sides coming together to condemn the murder of a public servant. Indeed, Jo was liked and respected by so many across the political divide both in the UK and elsewhere with the German leader Angela Merkel calling for “moderation of language to counter radicalisation and to foster respect.“
In this remembrance of an extraordinary woman, I want to reflect not on the hate that led to Jo’s death but on the legacy that Jo has left us. A legacy that hopefully helps fill the vast hole of Jo’s death for her husband Brendan and their very young children Cuillin and Lejla.
Many will have heard of the Jo Cox Foundation, which has subsequently helped over 35,000 women since its launch. It established in 2016 by the friends and family of Jo and exists to build a positive legacy and create something positive from her murder.
The Foundation’s vision is: –
‘For a kinder, more compassionate society where every individual has a sense of belonging and where we recognise that we have more in common than that which divides us‘ – something that as feminists involved in the gender war many often forget.
The Foundations website also states its mission: –
‘The Jo Cox Foundation inspires and galvanises positive change at local, national and international levels. We do this by partnering with visionary individuals and organisations who share our commitment to the fairer, kinder world that Jo dedicated her life to building’.
The website text continues saying this is relation to empathy something so missing on Twitter, the social platform I tend to work on:
We treat everyone with respect and understanding, championing the rights and contributions of all to achieve a fairer world. We call out abuse and hostility where we find it, and actively advocate tolerance and kindness in our discourse. We follow Jo’s example to demonstrate that kindness and compassion are signs of strength, not weakness.
I know of two people, a trans woman and a trans ally who have completed courses with the Foundation – both found the experiencing enriching and rewarding.
Indeed, both still regularly talk about their experience with extreme pride.
But it has not always been plain sailing for the Foundation.
Leading up to November 2017 the anti-trans newspaper ‘The Times’ published a string of articles focusing on Lily Madigan a trans woman named as the women’s officer within her Constituency Labour Party. Lily had applied to take part in the Jo Cox “Women in Leadership Scheme” but some objected with one gender-critical person allegedly saying her presence was a “monstrous insult” to women.
Pink News reported that 55 Labour activists wrote to The Times in complaint, but The Times refused to publish the letter, part of which read:
We were disappointed to read an article in The Times (25th November 2017) about a trans woman applying to the programme. Rather than celebrate what it has achieved, it focussed on sowing divisions with regards to who applies. One of our cohort is a trans woman, our friend, and our sister.
Signatories to the letter included Preet Kaur Gil the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston and one Rosie Duffield the MP for Canterbury.
What happened Rosie?
What would Jo think now?
And The Times? Still, their abhorrent anti-trans people, rhetoric sews division on a daily basis.
History will judge them.
But back to the woman, we remember, know and still love – Jo Cox.
I am sure she would be very proud of the trans inclusionary Foundation set up to remember her – and hopefully (when the false gender war ends), I will have the time to take part one day too.
But in ending this remembrance of Jo, I revert to her words making her maiden speech in Parliament in which she said:-
“We have more in common than that which divides us.”
And to remind us of this fact, in June 2017, Jo’s two kids unveiled a plaque in the House of Commons chamber – it read:-
“More In Common“
Indeed – we ALL need to remember that.
In love and remembrance.
Jo Cox 1974 – 2016
Authored by Steph @PlaceSteph