Student poem in memory of Jo Cox unveiled

Social work student Bernadette O'Horo with the poem she wrote in honour of Jo Cox

A student-penned poem about the late Jo Cox has been unveiled at Bradford College.

Social work student Bernadette O’Horo wrote the heartfelt piece after meeting the murdered MP’s family when they visited the college.

The moving tribute, called Beautiful Symphony, has now been printed onto a photograph of the former Labour MP and placed on display in a café at the college.

In the poem, Bernadette, who writes and performs under the pseudonym Bernie-the-Bolt, addresses issues of hate crimes, social injustice, gender politics and bereavement.

She said: “The poem was written for a skills day which took place as part of my social work degree course where the subject matter related to hate crime. Jo’s family were in attendance and I wanted to write a poem to bless Jo’s family, but also to inform others of the great works Jo did and what she stood for and believed in and why it is important that we remain collective in challenging the social injustices which disadvantaged people face.”

A poem in memory of Jo Cox has been unveiled in Lister Cafe

The former MP for Batley and Spen was as murdered by a far-right extremist as she arrived at her constituency surgery in Birstall, in June 2016. Her sister, Kim Leadbeater, was a sports tutor at Bradford College at the time and in October the following year, Kim returned to college, along with her parents, Gordon and Jean Leadbeater, to see a café be renamed the Jo Cox Café.  

Bernadette hopes the print of her poem, which has been placed in another café within the college, will prove thought-provoking to visitors.

She said: “I hope people will feel slightly uncomfortable reading it in the sense that I hope they can recognise what injustices people face and the impact that this has on everyday citizens such as Jo Cox.

“I hope it helps them to remain self-aware of the need to challenge things which they feel are unjust for example; political ideologies or people who have fallen victim to a hate crime. I hope people become more knowledgeable and moved by the words in the poem and I hope it encourages them to realise that they can achieve their goals and ambitions, as nothing is impossible if you commit 100 per cent to it.”

“I feel really overwhelmed seeing it in print and am very proud that I have created a piece of art for people to see and read. I hope when I graduate this year that it will inspire the next generation of social work students.”