Jo Cox's call for unity has inspired over 100,000 community events that will take place this weekend (16-18 June) across the UK.

In an unprecedented move, rival newspapers, broadcasters and politicians have come together to urge unity ahead of the Great Get Together weekend, organised to bring communities together and celebrate what they have most in common, in honour of the murdered MP’s beliefs.

Two fierce competitors, The Guardian and The Telegraph issued a joint statement, published in both newspapers, paying tribute to Ms Cox and noting that unity is now more important than ever.

“Worrying new trends are beginning to impact the public consciousness – fake news, algorithm biases, echo chambers. “Filter bubble” effects can easily arise as the increasingly targeted experiences we get from Facebook 
and Google only give us news and views with which we will agree. These bubbles can lead us all to narrow our world views, rather than seeking out news and opinion which engages us, widens our viewpoints, and exposes us to new ideas.

“Against this backdrop, it has never been more important for the press to provide balanced, professional but, above all, tough scrutiny to political leaders of every stripe.

“As the Great Get Together launches this coming weekend in memory of 
Jo Cox’s life and work, we two editors have no hesitation in uniting, if for one day only, to share the fine sentiment of George Orwell that: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Two other rivals, The Sun and The Daily Mirror, have for the first time in history written a joint statement asking everyone to come together during the weekend and put aside their differences.

Former UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Sir John Major and David Cameron are expected to release messages explaining what they think unites Britain as a nation.

The Great Get Together marks the first anniversary of Jo Cox’s death by the hands of a right-wing extremist, Thomas Mair, last June. Cox’s maiden speech to parliament served as inspiration for the family and friends setting up the event. Cox had said: “We have more in common and are far more united than that which divides us.”

 

People have been asked to throw street parties, bake-offs and other community-friendly events. A precursor to the Great Get Together was the More In Common campaign HOPE not hate ran last year.

Dawn Livingston, London community organiser for HOPE not hate, says the challenge in setting up events this year has been staying focused after a snap election was called by Theresa May. “When the election was announced, it obviously was a priority. But people are now once again turning their attention to this important event to celebrate Jo Cox’s life and legacy.”

A documentary about the life of Jo Cox will be broadcasted tonight on BBC Two at 9 pm. Jo Cox: Death of an MP will give a detailed account of Cox’s murder in the run up to last year’s EU referendum, juxtaposing the young mother-of-two parliamentarian with the 53-year-old terrorist who spent his life absorbing Nazi literature and white-supremacist propaganda.

Brendan Cox, the late MP’s husband, told BBC Radio 4 he wanted the Great Get Together to reflect the life Jo led. “We didn’t want it to be a solemn event with silences and mourning. We wanted it to be joyful. Given that Jo’s killing was designed to tear us apart, to bring communities apart, we wanted to show how united our country remains.”

Brendan has written a book about his wife, Jo Cox: More in Common, published today, with the proceeds going to charity. He appeared on ITV’s Lorraine today to discuss the upcoming event and speak about his late wife.

BBC and ITV local news teams in Yorkshire, where Cox was MP for Batley and Spen, are also uniting over the weekend to give a joint broadcast.

Brendan Cox will be launching the Great Get Together at Clarence House alongside the Duchess of Cornwall and chef Jamie Oliver.

How to get involved

Getting involved in organising an event is simple, the Great Get Together website highlights the five steps:

  1. Decide when and where is best for you.
  2. Get the invites out!
  3. Make the food as simple or as fancy as you want. You can ask others to bring something. We’ve also got an activity guide for those of you that like some organised fun.
  4. Get creative with gingham, our campaign theme.
  5. Enjoy! And share your photos with us on social media using #GreatGetTogether and #moreincommon.

HOPE not hate organisers have been working on setting up events across the UK. Here some of the ones people can join or volunteer with. All you need to do is contact HOPE not hate for more details.

16 June

Abergavenny: 10am to 12 pm, Coffee morning at the Methodist Church Hall, Castle St, Abergavenny. Mayor of Abergavenny, Cllr David Simcock will open with singers from Abercappella and Open Arms singing Jo Cox’s words, “we have far more in common than that which divides us”.

17 June

Merseyside: A morning to commemorate Jo’s life and the values she campaigned for.

Bournemouth: 11am to 3pm, picnic with live music.

Rotherham: 10:30am to 3:30pm, free family-friendly event with music, food-stalls, community art project and more.

Edinburgh: 2pm to 4pm, free family community event.

Ely:

9am to 12pm at an Ely market stall.

10am to 12pm, morning coffee in the Methodist Church

1pm to 5pm, Picnic at St Mary’s Church and movie screening on refugee crisis

Hackney: 11:30 am to 5pm Hackney College event with music, drama and workshops. Food and drinks available.

London: 7:30pm to 10pm, Change of Art Festival with diverse and innovative performances and workshops at the Amnesty International headquarters. Food and drinks available.

Cardiff: Garden party at the Mackintosh Community Garden, Roath. There’ll be some delicious food, live entertainment and fun activities for kids.

Carmarthen: 11am to 4pm, family-friendly day at Carmarthen Park.

Stourbridge: Weekend party at Katie Fitzgeralds with bands, entertainment and music from all cultures.

18 June

Sheffield: 11am to 3pm, family-friendly free event with music, food-stalls, community art project and more.

Loughborough: 2pm to 5pm, get together at Queen’s Park.

Cambridge: 12pm to 3pm, Meadows Community Centre, Arbury — Music, Unity Choir, Talk on “HOME is where HOPE is”, food, etc.

Sidmouth: 2.30pm, picnic at the Sidmouth Rugby Ground.

Stourbridge: Weekend party at Katie Fitzgeralds with bands, entertainment and music from all cultures.

24 June

Peterborough: 11am – 1.30pm, Picnic on the Peterborough Cathedral Green

Visit The Great Get Together website: www.greatgettogether.org