Jo Cox MP – a beautiful human being.

It probably seems like a long time ago now that everyone was talking about the European Union (EU) Referendum here in the UK but the consequences of it are still very apparent. Hate crime has dramatically increased and this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

Unfortunately, throughout the Leave campaign for the EU Referendum immigration was at the centre. The EU allows the free movement of people across Europe (within the countries signed up to the EU). This is brilliant, but mix this with a global financial collapse and refugees fleeing to Europe, and there is a perceived threat that British people can‚Äôt get a job because immigrants are¬†taking them all. Or how about those immigrants manipulating the welfare system and sending all their money back to their families? These are stories that are consistently twisted and regurgitated by the media – it doesn‚Äôt matter if they are true or false, what matters is what sells newspapers. This is dangerous because people rely heavily on information from newspapers and believe what they are reading. It also starts stigmatising every individual person from different countries into the same group. What came out of the leave campaign was big headlines that Turkey and Albania are¬†being fast tracked into the EU under a secret deal that no one actually knew about because it was that secret. A pretty misleading story, especially as Turkey has been in the process of joining the EU since 1987 and has not accomplished the majority of the tasks necessary for membership. These types of stories convinced readers¬†that millions more people would flood to Britain and that these people would be¬†Muslim, so they must¬†be Islamic State. Terrorism was a big worry for people that voted leave and there was no information presented about the EU to help tackle it. Terrorism, particularly IS, doesn‚Äôt target one particular country – it crosses numerous countries, as we’ve seen over the last few months.

There are many victims of this rhetoric, and worst of all, children are being targeted. Children don’t see the colour of skin or hear different languages, they see another human being. Why can’t adults? Hate is a learnt characteristic which has been funnelled down through society and people and easily picked up by children. I say this all with the horrific story of a Polish child that received a letter through the door the day after the referendum telling them to go home! What kind of people do that? This child has done absolutely nothing wrong and all their parents did was move to another country to make a better life for themselves and their children. Integration is a great thing in our society, when children from different cultural backgrounds come together it is something magical. We learn from each other and become better human beings for doing so.

The unthinkable has happened now for many people who voted to stay in the European Union. The leave campaign has won and the hate which helped to propel that campaign is winning. This is democracy though, let’s not forget that this was the biggest decision that has ever been put to a referendum and everyone must accept that for what it is. There is still a bitterness though, from both sides of the campaign but we all need to come together to combat this hate within the country and across the pond in America. Britain and especially America have relied heavily on immigration and are hubs of beautiful multiculturalism. So here’s our first step to combat this hatred – stop labelling one group of people and think of the millions of brilliant individuals that create that group.

Lastly, Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was brutally murdered in her own constituency just before the referendum, as a consequence of this kind of hatred. Jo was an exceptional human being who dedicated her life to trying to help those who needed it around the world. I wish that she and her contributions to humanity had been better known before this utterly appalling act. Rest in Peace.

-Charleigh Powell
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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