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Late MP Jo Cox Now Has a Square in Brussels Named After Her

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Jo Cox’s message of celebrating diversity, community, and tolerance is echoed through the UN Global Goals, particularly by the goal for reduced inequalities. It states that no one should be discriminated against for their sexuality, gender, age, disability, religion, ethnicity, or any other status. You can join us by taking action here to take a stand against inequality. 

The late MP Jo Cox, who called on the world to see what we have in common over what divides us, now has a square named after her in Brussels.

The honour is part of the Belgian capital’s efforts to drive gender equality in the city by increasing female representation through naming streets, buildings, and squares after “illustrious women.”

A naming ceremony on Thursday, led by the Mayor of Brussels, was attended by members of Cox’s family, as well as friends and colleagues. 

Take action: Tell the UK Government: Help Create a World Where #SheIsEqual

Kim Leadbeater, Cox’s sister, said the family was “honoured that the city of Brussels has chosen to remember Jo in this way.” 

“She had many happy times living there and made some deep and long-lasting friendships,” she is quoted as saying by the BBC. “We visited her on several occasions and have many heart-warming memories of seeing how much she enjoyed being there.”

“To know that she will have a permanent place where she, and the values she stood by, can be remembered is a comfort and an honour and I would like to thank everyone involved,” she added. 

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The square is near to the central Ancienne Belgique concert venue, where Cox is reported to have been a regular visitor when she lived in the city. 

Before being elected as an MP in 2015, Cox had spent years living in Brussels — as an assistant to former MEP Glenys Kinnock, and later as head of policy at Oxfam. 

Cox was murdered in 2016 in West Yorkshire — in her constituency of Batley and Spen — by a right-wing extremist. It was described by the Crown Prosecution Service as “nothing less than acts of terrorism designed to advance his twisted ideology.”

Cox is also remembered with a plaque in the House of Commons in London, which includes the words “more in common.” 

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It’s a reference to her first speech in the House of Commons as an MP, during which she said: “While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.” 

Brussels launched its efforts for “female and male equality” in 2014. Other women to be honoured, according to the Guardian, include the founder of the Egyptian Feminist Union, Huda Sharawi; Gabrille Petit, a Belgian who spied for the British secret service during World War I; and Belgian pioneer feminist and pacifist Léonie La Fontaine.