Politicians unite to honour Jo Cox’s legacy

Media Releases, News article written on the 22 Jun 2016

Australian politicians from across the political spectrum have united with nearly 1500 parliamentarians around the world to sign a pledge for tolerance to uphold the legacy of Jo Cox.

The statement, released today on what would have been Jo’s 42nd birthday, calls on world leaders to heed the British MP’s message that “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than the things that divide us”.

Almost 90 Australian politicians, including Labor Party leader Bill Shorten and deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, Greens leader Richard Di Natale and Assistant Minister for Disability Services and Liberal MP Jane Prentice, have signed the statement.

Jo’s life was tragically cut short in a senseless act of violence last Thursday.

The release of the pledge coincides with a series of events across the world to pay tribute to Jo and her selfless work in combating inequality.

In Melbourne today, aid agencies will come together at a memorial event at Oxfam Australia’s headquarters to honour Jo’s life and reiterate her legacy through the #MoreInCommon movement.

Jo worked for Oxfam and Oxfam International between 2001 and 2009 in a variety of roles. As head of Oxfam’s Brussels office she spearheaded the agency’s campaign for trade reform. In 2005, she joined Oxfam Great Britain as head of advocacy.

Jo was a passionate advocate on humanitarian issues, including the conflicts in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2007, she became the head of humanitarian campaigns for Oxfam International in New York.

The dedicated mother of two met her husband, Brendan, while working for Oxfam.

The Melbourne event will allow those gathered to reflect on Jo’s compassionate campaigning, share personal memories of their former colleague and commit to taking forward her message that we have more in common than that which divides us.

The gathering in Melbourne will coincide with events being held around the world, including in London’s Trafalgar Square, Jo’s home constituency of Birstall, Nairobi, Washington, New York and Brussels.

The Stand As One – Live At Glastonbury 2016 album, Stand As One, which is being released next month in support of Oxfam’s work with refugees, will be dedicated to Jo’s memory.

Oxfam Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said Jo’s legacy was a direct challenge to everyone to speak up, take part and be a voice for the voiceless by carrying forward the message that she now symbolised around the world – that we have #moreincommon than that which divides us.

“Across the world, we will gather to celebrate Jo’s warmth, love, energy, passion, flair, Yorkshire heritage and her belief in the humanity of every person in every place,” Dr Szoke said.

“She believed in a love that is fierce, brave and humble. Her death has devastated a family and attacked the ideals that we cherish most.”

For interviews or more information, please contact Amanda Banks on 0411 449 653 or amandab@oxfam.org.au