Alex Kent is the UK Director of Restless Development. On today, Jo Cox’s birthday, thousands are sharing how they will pledge to #LoveLikeJo and in this post Alex shares some of her thoughts on how this is a moment to celebrate Jo’s life.
Jo Cox was one of our own. For those at Restless Development – whether you’ve just started campaigning or volunteering with us or are a long-term staff member – if you didn’t know Jo, then you will know her values.
She was a committed change-maker. A young-leader, a humanitarian, a fighter of the good fight. She spent years at Oxfam leading work against some of the biggest global injustices. She led the White-Ribbon Alliance against Maternal Mortality and recently lead major efforts on the Syria and Refugee Crisis.
Like me, you’ll have been devastated by the news. I still can’t quite believe this has happened. We feel incredibly sad for the loss of such a formidable woman, but especially for the loss suffered by those nearest and dearest, her family.
Jo lived by her values. As a mother, a boat-dweller, campaigner and MP. Friends have described her as inspiring, always full of new ideas, passionate and never faltering from her idealism. She was cheeky and always fun to work with, signing off test emails at Oxfam with ‘Yee-Ha!, and was the moral compass of the House of Commons. As Brendan said about his wife:
“Jo believed in a better world, and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life.”
Today I was in Trafalgar Square, with Restless staff, volunteers, friends and many others. Other friends and colleagues joined in from Nairobi, Auckland, and New York. I cannot think of a better way to mark Jo’s birthday. One giant, global display of the words in her maiden parliamentary speech:
“We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”
This moment is a celebration of Jo’s life, and it’s a powerful reminder of how much one person can achieve. It’s an inspiration for us all at Restless Development and across the international development sector. We are reminded of what is important. To stand united against intolerance and injustice.
I know since hearing the news I feel both fortunate and a responsibility to do more. To fight harder, to go just some of the way in standing for what Jo stood for, and more than ever in fighting the good fight.