The White House
President Barack Obama
June 22, 2016
I did not have the privilege of knowing Jo Cox. But I know the spirit that defined her life. When I first ran for President, she came to America and volunteered on my campaign. She gave her time and passion to a country that was not her own because she believed in an idea that transcends borders and cultures-the power of people to bring about change, from the grassroots up. She later described being in North Carolina on election night watching an elderly African American grandmother holding her granddaughter on her knees. And through her tears, she told her granddaughter, “when I was your age they said we couldn’t sit on the bus, now we’re the President. We must never doubt how much things can change.” Jo knew that our politics, at its best, still works-that, if we recognize our humanity in each other, we can advance the social justice, human dignity and peace that we seek in the world.
Reflecting on a difficult time in university, she once said that it made her realize that it mattered where you were born, how you spoke and who you knew. In her radiant life, Jo turned that truth on its head. She was such an effective public servant for her beloved Yorkshire because she was born there. She earned the respect of her colleagues in Parliament because she was unafraid to speak her mind. And countless women, children and refugees around the world live with more dignity and hope because they knew Jo Cox and were touched by her work on their behalf. Today, we stand united-British, Americans and people around the world-to affirm that the hate and violence that took her from us are ultimately no match for the love and compassion that she spread in her life.
On behalf of the American people, I offer our deepest condolences to Jo’s parents, sister, husband Brendan, son Cuillin and daughter Lejla. May these two young children, like all our children, never doubt how much things can change. With our help, may they grow up in a world of greater tolerance, justice and peace-a future that would make their mum proud.