In a moving op-ed published in the New York Times, Brendan Cox, activist and husband of the murdered British MP Jo Cox, has spoken out against the rise of extremism and bigotry in mainstream politics.
Describing the changing tide of politics in recent years, his words condemn the toxic rhetoric and divisive atmosphere that created the context for his wife’s death.
“All our lives, Jo and I had been optimists. Almost by instinct, we both believed that the world was getting better and that it would continue to do so,” he writes.
“Earlier this year, for the first time, she and I started to doubt that.”
Killed one week before the EU referendum, MP Jo Cox was a passionate advocate for social justice at home and abroad — from raising the cause of Syrian refugees in the UK Parliament to working to combat the problem of loneliness in her home constituency.
“She was a woman who constantly looked for the best in people and situations,” her husband says.
Determined to keep this spirit of optimism alive, Cox is not afraid to directly confront the negative forces that contributed to his wife’s death.
Naming the “demagogues” in France, Hungary, and the USA that have stoked xenophobia and division, Cox warns against complacency and promises to continue to fight against hate and intolerance.
This week, Cox attended a summit in New York hosted by President Obama to urge world leaders to take collective responsibility for the world’s 65 million refugees.
Resilient to the end, even in a hostile world, Cox’s continued belief in compassion and hope is a moving testament to his wife’s legacy — and a powerful challenge to us all.