Saturday, 18 June 2016
Two years ago when she was thinking of trying to become an MP, she and I were amongst a small group of people invited by Ricken Patel and Avaaz to take part in an intense week’s leadership training led by Robert Gass.
I was by far the oldest person there and I found all the other participants really inspiring, they were all young passionate optimists and had all made making the world a better place their life’s work.
I had quite a few far-ranging conversations with Jo, played with her kids and was amazed at how she was able to be an attentive and loving mum and at the same time take the deep dive the course was taking us on.
She had lots of dreams of creating a more just world in which human rights were respected, poverty could be eradicated and in which opportunity was not determined by where you were born or who your parents were.
She was determined, passionate, open, always ready to listen, humble, generous with a mischievous sense of humour.
In that week she was testing herself out with us, to get some feel of just how far she might go. It was exciting to see her begin to trust her own capabilities and get a real sense of what she might be able to achieve. You knew she was always motivated to serve others, not herself, and it felt that in that time on the course, she decided not to limit herself or listen to the voice of doubt, but to trust her heart. None of us were surprised to see her elected.
We have been robbed of a potential leader, a wonderful mum and a soul that could both listen to and inspire those with whom she came into contact.
I can’t bear to think of her family and the terrible loss they now have to face.
This is what Brendan, her husband, wrote: "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 poisionous. Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full."
We can choose a world that is based on hate, fear, isolation and separation or a world based on hope, trust and coming together. There is absolutely no doubt which side Jo was on - or which world I would want to see for my own kids and grandchildren.
Please remember her and what she stood for.
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 14:42