Comment & Opinion
The Browning Column : LOVE – A REVOLUTIONARY ACT?
by Leah Browning
The “Great Get Together” took place across the UK last weekend (16th – 18th June) seeing 108, 000 events take place nationally. Cornwall held events in Truro, St Austell, Redruth, Falmouth and Liskeard, amongst others.
The Big Lunch, an annual community event, joined with the “more in common” campaign to host get togethers across the country in loving memory of Jo Cox, the vivacious & inspiring Labour MP, marking the 1 year anniversary of her tragic death.
Jo was murdered outside her constituency office in Birstall near Leeds ahead of the Brexit referendum last year. Jo’s killer was a male British white supremacist, known for his extremist right wing views.
Jo made the now well known & poignant phrase in her maiden speech in the House of Commons “We have more in common than that which divides us”.
Echoing her words, what unites us was celebrated with love & solidarity across Cornwall & the UK, calling us to bring people of all ages, religion, colour, class & creed together, rejoicing in humanity & ensuring Jo’s values live on.
Cuillin and Lejla, were aged five and three when their mother died.
Their father, Jo’s husband Brendan Cox, said in an interview for Sky News;
“What moments like the Manchester attacks, the London bridge attacks or the killing of Jo do, is that they shake our complacency and they create a great amount of anger and the question is how we channel that and I hope in a way that brings our communities together, as I say empathises the amount we have in common rather than the things that divide us. And that happens if we can awaken that silent majority we can force those extremists out to the margins where they belong”
Businesses, charities, unions, faith groups & community organisations came together, to bring the initiative forward. The narrative needs to change and we can all plant the concept into the minds of communities & consumers.
St Austell Brewery joined with other Brewery’s & suppliers to manufacture pale ale in Jo’s honour ahead of the day held to celebrate her life. The profits from the Great Get Together Pale Ale will go to the Jo Cox Foundation & funds raised will support work to bring together communities across the UK;
“We hope everyone enjoys the Great Get Together Pale Ale and we’ll be raising glasses to the Jo Cox Foundation in all our small batch pubs across the South West to celebrate this praiseworthy event.”
In the early hours of Monday morning (19th June) in spite of the national message over the weekend, a terror attack occurred outside a Finsbury park Mosque, London. A white male took the life of one & injured 11 others, people were driven at as they left following Ramadam prayers.
Just hours after the suspected terror attack, Brendan Cox tweeted “Far right fascists and Islamist terrorists are driven by same hatred of difference, same ideology of supremacy and use same tactics. We’ll defeat both”
Messages of Love & unity came shining through. After the attacker was arrested, a vigil was filmed outside, where hundreds brought roses & bright flowers, many held signs saying “We stand together” and “United against terror” were being shared on social media. Words seen scribed at Finsbury park Station read
“Tough times don’t last, tough people do
Stick together all of us”
The anger, grief, despair & sheer devastation that has hit following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in London just days earlier (14th June) with great loss of life, which shook the community & the nation to it’s very core, was promptly followed by a selfless outpouring of love & collective direct action. People spontaneously giving their time & possessions to those who have lost everything.
Anger, yes but righteous anger for justice & change, not hate. Passion brought people together, in solidarity, and offered the empowerment to speak truth to power.
Esmè Page took to action in Cornwall setting up ‘Cornwall hugs Grenfell’ page on Facebook. The aim of the page is to “put a Cornish holiday on the horizon of every Grenfell resident and firefighter family” offering “a time to rest, a time to let our beautiful county bless these people and work its gentle magic”.
Esmè said “knowing a holiday is on the horizon could give a sense of hope amid the immediate strain, stress and grief”.
The Great Get Together saw the same diverse communities & individuals up & down the country donate money, time, sending aid in times of need, come together to celebrate the love they hold within themselves. Picnics, street parties, laughter, the warm embracing hug of inclusion. The kindness of strangers, of neighbours, of friends & families, build the network of support to see foodbanks & clothes banks stocked & manned for the disaffected, disadvantaged & in need.
While large segments of the main stream media continue sowing the seeds of hate, fear & division we can all reflect on how we react, accepting responsibility for our own words & behaviour, challenging perceptions.
We all have a choice, to pedal hate & allow it to gain traction or to stop it & be the strong sense of compassion & proactive support needed in the face of adversity.
Be part of the Revolution #Lovelikejo