Something happened in our community this afternoon that has shocked us all. Something so barbaric and full of hatred that it has made us all stop and think, truly think about how we live our lives.
Jo Cox, a local mum and wife was brutally murdered while carrying out her job as a local MP. As an MP she was tireless in her campaign of values that she believed in, both internationally on the Syrian crisis and locally in recognising the true values of our community. As she travelled around her community she noted the closeness and harmony of all race and religions throughout Yorkshire and that really is the greatest testament that anyone could ever tell.
I am not a political person, but I know kindness and honesty when I see it. And yet as the hours go by after the news of this event reached me, I cannot seem to get this out of my mind – it has been playing over and over ever since I heard the news. Jo was a Yorkshire lass through and through it seems (I did not know her) and she was going about her daily job, as we all do. She was not murdered for any reason, just some deluded individual who wanted to make her a reason for his own hatred- and that is the saddest thing of all.
In my eyes, Jo was a mother first and foremost, and a wife. Tonight her babies will be going off to sleep without her for the very first time. How cruel and unfair life can be. That thought made me string out bedtime for that little bit longer tonight, and cast my eyes over my own children, taking everything in about them for as long as I could.
What world am I bringing them up in? Should I be fearful of the hatred that we seem to have in certain sections of our society? Any questions that came to mind were answered with a statement made by Jo’s husband Brendan,
“I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo. Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it everyday of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.”
“She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.”
When I read that I thought to myself – bloody hell I would be so proud if my husband had made a statement with such powerful words of determination. What a way to honour somebody you love than to promise to take care of the two things she loved the most in the world. Not only that, but to add a defiant rejection of hatred, surely must teach us all a lesson?
Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.
There have been many times over the past year when I have wondered what important life lessons I would like to teach my own children and I think Jo’s husband just summed up what every parent in Yorkshire, or indeed the country is probably thinking this evening.
Teach our own children tolerance of all race and religion and stand up to the fear brought about by such terrible acts. There will no doubt be plenty of aspersions and comments cast over the next few days with a view to denote blame, but I believe that it is important that we all come together after such a terrible day, as it has no place here.
Perhaps my children will never remember this day as they innocently carry on with their own little lives of school and nursery – but they certainly will grow up in the very same city as Jo’s children will. I hope that one day no matter what they all become, that they emulate the love and kindness taught to them and learn to stand up against the things in the world that look to do them harm.
From one local mum to another I am giving a nod to that special lady and the legacy that she has undoubtedly left behind. I know that her family will be as proud of her as we all are in Leeds – a true Yorkshire Rose.
My condolences to Jo’s family this evening.