The lives touched by Cox included far more than her constituents in Yorkshire and the British Parliament, as evidenced by the many moving tributes delivered in her honor. Vigils held all over the U.K. saw hundreds in attendance, many of whom had never even met the Labour MP but saw her as an icon and inspiration and viewed her death as a tragedy. Below are clips from the vigil at Parliament Square in London that I attended Friday evening, where, despite the constant noise of the city, mourners stood in silence for two minutes to remember the slain MP. Next to a photograph of Cox, flowers and candles were left by many, some of whom couldn’t hold back their tears. A large sign invited attendees to leave notes of solidarity.
Cox’s husband had made a powerful statement soon after his wife’s murder, saying:
Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. 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 every day 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. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion; it is poisonous. Jo would have no regrets about her life; she lived every day of it to the full.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the vigil in Birstall, where Corbyn told mourners:
Jo was brutally murdered here 24 hours ago in this town — a town she loved, a town she grew up in, serving a community she loved. … And in her life she’d worked for anti-slavery campaigns, she’d worked for Oxfam, she was a campaigner for human rights and justice all around the world. … She was taken from us in an act of hatred, in a vile act that has killed her.
A member of Canada’s Parliament who had known Cox gave an emotional speech after her shocking death, stating that “Jo used her voice for those who have none, dedicated her passion to those who needed it most.”