’18 Months’ – A poem by Tasha, J4G Campaigner

Down the towering pole they came
With one main aim – to save life.
That day you had a different plan,
Too big for any shy extinguisher.

On the fourteenth day of the sixth month
Of the seventeenth year into the 2000s;
The holy month for many,
In loving homes you found your way,
Like the returning in a forest.

As the brave slipped on their gentle helmets
And made their way towards you,
Your smoke began to whisper
As you creeped amongst your playground.

Oh sacred fire, how glad you seemed
For those who’d made your job easy.

Without pause you leapt from floor to floor,
Without a care in your way.
Burning water and choking cries
Could not stop you this time.

Those sluggish hoses were not a match
As this time you had help.
For you knew before anyone else
That your way had already been paved
By those selfish few who already knew
That your playpen wasn’t safe.

Oh sacred fire, what have you done?
This time it’s gone too far.

And you reply, to those who ignored the cries
That the history of your voice is loud and clear
And there for anyone to hear.

“It’s all there in the history books,
And the warnings from the lips of those I took.”
You say your decision was made for you,
And on that I can agree.

So now it’s the fourteenth day of the twelth month,
of the eighteenth year into the 2000s.

We are braver because of those who fought that night
And those that have done since.
We are braver because of the dignity and strength
of those that lost their own and those that survived.

But sacred fire, what have you done
To the 72 lives that had not yet begun?

J4G’s Questions for Robert Black

On Thursday 16th November 2018, Robert Black, the ex-CEO of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation gave his evidence at the Public Inquiry.

The only thing he seemed to remember was his career path and nothing much about what happened on the night of the fire.

Here are some questions that Justice4Grenfell would like to put to him:

– Do you remember why you went to Grenfell in the first place if your role was to be “passive”?

– Do you remember signing the planning application for the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower?

– Do you remember why you continued to accept a CEO salary for the last 6 months of 2017 even though you had stepped down from your role? If that was to “concentrate on assisting with the investigation and inquiry”, why is your evidence so unsubstantial?

– Do you remember residents calling for an independent adjudicator to investigate the fire risk at Grenfell Tower in 2016? Do you remember your role as a CEO in the organisation that rejected that idea?

– Do you remember doing anything useful at all on the 14th June 2017? From your evidence, it seems that “standing around” for 6 hours was all that you did?

– Do you remember that a minimum of 72 children, women and men died as a result of the fire?

J4G’s Statement on arrests

Justice4Grenfell Campaign is aware that five individuals implicated in this grotesque video have presented themselves at a police station.

Public outrage regarding their behaviours and the gravity of what they did demonstrates that these acts of hatred will not be tolerated and have no place in our society.

Our thoughts and prayers are focused on the bereaved families and survivors who have been further traumatised by such a heinous video; especially at this time when many of them are giving evidence to the Grenfell Public Inquiry.

We leave it to the Police and Crown Prosecution Service to look at the evidence and investigate this thoroughly. We do not want to jeopardise any future prosecution process; so are making no further comment on any charges that these despicable perpetrators may face.

We recognise that even racists are still entitled to a fair trial.

J4G’s Questions – Institutional Assumptions

Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton gave evidence to the Public Inquiry this week.  She was asked by Inquiry Counsel, Richard Millet QC, if there were ‘institutional assumptions’ made by the fire service on how to react to the fire at Grenfell Tower.

Here are some questions J4G would like to ask the government about some ‘institutional assumptions’ that they may hold:

  • Is there an institutional assumption that those who live in social housing are there as a privilege and not a right?
  • Is there an institutional assumption that private, building materials companies and contractors prioritise the health and safety of people before their profits?
  • Is there an institutional assumption that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is fit for purpose and should not be placed into special measures?
  • Is there an institutional assumption that the Inquiry will continue to be held at the current venue at Holborn Bars, even though Bereaved families and Survivors have petitioned for it to be changed?
  • Is there an institutional assumption that no outright ban on cladding is necessary?
  • Is there an institutional assumption that private contractors, who public authorities increasingly ‘out-source’ to, do not need to have any obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and the Freedom of Information Act?

Please never make the institutional assumption that the Grenfell survivors, bereaved families and wider community will not continue to fight for justice.