NEW YORK — Diplomats, United Nation leaders and dozens of others gathered in New York to honor slain British Parliament member Jo Cox, joining thousands of others around the world Wednesday in memorial services for her.
About 100 people gathered outside the UNICEF building near the United Nations, as memorial services also took place in London, Brussels, Nairobi, Kenya, and other cities. Cox's husband and sister joined the New York service via a live video feed on what would have been her 42nd birthday.
"Jo knew that our politics, at its best, still works," President Barack Obama said in a statement read by U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power. "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."
Other dignitaries included U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Elisasson, United Kingdom Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, and former British Parliament member Stephen O'Brien, now U.N. undersecretary general of humanitarian affairs.
Cox was shot and stabbed June 16 outside a public library where she had planned to hold a constituency meeting near Leeds in northern England. She was a member of the British Labour Party and a staunch supporter of Syrian refugees. Her death delayed the vote on whether Britain would remain in the European Union, which she strongly favored.
Purna Sen, the director of policy at U.N. Women, ran for office in Parliament last year as did Cox. Sen said the global reaction to Cox's death reflected the international reach of her work.
"The values we worked for feel very much under attack," Sen said.
New York University professor Lorelei Ormrod said she attended the memorial because even though she didn't know Cox, she felt deeply touched by her work.
"She spoke up for the marginalized and the vulnerable," said Ormrod. "That's what we really need in the world. Especially at this time of divisiveness."