Kim Leadbeater has thanked all Scotland’s party leaders for putting their disagreements to one side and coming together to support stronger communities in memory of her sister, Jo Cox, who was murdered three years ago.
She said: “The people of Scotland have been amazing in organising fantastic events large and small over what would have been Jo’s 45th birthday weekend in June. It’s a chance to put to one side all the issues that we might disagree about and just focus on what we have in common.”
Kim unveiled details of some of the highlights of The Great Get Together taking place on June 21st – 23rd. She said that while there are big issues that politicians rightly need to debate vigorously, it is just as important to remember the values we all share.
The Great Get Together brings communities together in the spirit of Jo Cox’s belief that ‘we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us’.
Kim Leadbeater said:
“We are going through turbulent times politically and there’s a lot of attention at the moment on the things that divide opinion, but for me that’s no reason not to try to do something positive that can help bring communities together. That’s the message I get from everyone I talk to across the country, including here in Scotland.
“So this year our message is simply ‘Let’s Get Back Together’. The Great Get Together weekend will be the opportunity to show that we won’t allow our communities to be divided and that the values Jo lived by are still the ones that represent our country at its best.”
Catherine Anderson, CEO of the Jo Cox Foundation, will urge everybody in public life to work towards healing divisions rather than making them worse. She said:
“Politics is all about strongly held views and rigorous debate and Jo never shied away from that. But it can and must be done in a way that shows respect for those we may disagree with and without seeking to widen divisions in society. Inflammatory language, threats and intimidation have no place in our public discourse. They represent the kind of politics Jo detested and everybody in public life has a responsibility to help take the poison out of our political culture. That includes MPs, candidates and the media. And we can all play our part in showing that our communities remain strong and welcoming by coming together to reject intolerance and division. Which is why I believe The Great Together is more important today than it has ever been.”
Party leaders in the Scottish Parliament and representatives of local community oganisations today joined Kim and Catherine for a photocall and a reception in the Scottish Parliament.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The very fact that so many people want to get involved in The Great Get Together is testament to the regard in which Jo Cox was held, and the determination to tackle the hatred that can drive people and communities apart.
“We all need to be vigilant and be prepared to challenge prejudice whenever and wherever it raises its ugly head – we owe that to Jo, her family, her friends and her supporters.”
Anas Sarwar MSP, who hosted the launch, said:
“The annual Great Get Together events are aimed at bringing together communities which may not otherwise be connected.
“In memory of Jo, they provide a platform for people to focus not on the things that divide us, but the things we have in common.
“This is more vital than ever amid rising prejudice and division, and the worrying rise of targeted attacks on faith centres across the world.
“In Scotland we have an opportunity to bring communities together, but we must work for it. It is a fight for all of us.”
More information is available here: https://www.greatgettogether.org/