News

Event: One Year On – Justice For Grenfell Solidarity March


JUSTICE4GRENFELL AND THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE’S UNION CALL ON PEOPLE FROM AROUND BRITAIN WHO DEMAND JUSTICE FOR GRENFELL TO JOIN US.

One year on and after 72 people have died and 70 injured in the Grenfell Tower fire the government leaves behind a trail of broken promises:

• 50% of survivors and displaced families are still in emergency accomodation
• No arrests yet, despite RBKC and Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation being charged with corporate manslaughter
• A Public Inquiry that a year on has only just begun, so we are no closer to the truth
• 300 tower blocks across the country covered in dangerous cladding used on Grenfell Tower. Building & safety regulations still not fit for purpose. A flammable cladding, that is STILL not banned in the UK.
• A local council who should be put into special measures because of its callous and ineffective management of the impact of the fire

THERE ARE COMMEMORATIVE EVENTS IN THE COMMUNITY WHICH WE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO JOIN IN.

Event: ‘United Voices Making Day’ with Justice 4 Grenfell and the RCA J4G Solidarity Group

In the lead up to the 1 year anniversary a group of students from the Royal College of Art are working with Justice 4 Grenfell to run a series of ‘United Voices’ making days.

*Bank Holiday*
Monday 28th May, 12-5pm at The Curve, Bard Road W10 6TP

We will facilitate: banner making, t-shirt screen printing, poster image-making and more!

Free entry
All materials provided
Family friendly
All ages welcome
Some light refreshments will be available

Come and make with us to keep up the voice, and spread the love!

I lost my cousin and her daughter at Grenfell – and I’m shocked the Hackitt review has refused to call for a ban on dangerous cladding

By Clarrie Mendy, for The Independent

It’s been almost a year since we lost my cousin, her daughter and 70 other named persons in the tragic Grenfell Tower inferno last year on 14 June 2017.

From day one bereaved family members, survivors, evacuated former residents, local residents living in the shadow of Grenfell and the local community have had to fight for their basic human rights.

The silent marches spoke volumes. The petition for extra panel members was signed by over 150,000 people. But still people had to practically beg for mercy and compassion to be heard and see action implemented.

My cousin’s death among 72 people soon became a cause to champion in the pursuit of justice. I have converted my grief and anger to creative energy, which helps me to cope and battle on. To know that tenants and people had raised concerns for three years prior to the Grenfell inferno infuriates me. Lives could have been saved.

In my opinion, human rights were abused – and all of the families in that tower were given keys to live in inadequate housing.

Last week I went to Parliament to discuss this with Theresa May with other bereaved relatives of those who died. The narrative from the government seemed to have changed, and I was glad.

Theresa May then stood up in parliament and said she would spend £400m stripping dangerous cladding similar to that on Grenfell Tower from other housing blocks. I felt this was a sign that she had listened to us.

But today we’re back here fighting again.

Dame Judith Hackitt, who has written the report into the disaster, has said the government doesn’t have to ban the flammable cladding which led to the deaths of 72 victims, including my cousin Mary Mendy and her daughter Khadija Saye.

While listening to May in parliament, after meeting with her last week, I felt proud that she’d made this call on removing the remaining cladding. She’d been reminded and she knew it was her deed. The conviction with which she stood up and said it, I thought well done Theresa – you listened to us.

But now this report says something different. Dame Judith Hackitt – the woman who is saying combustible cladding can remain legal – I don’t know what planet she comes from. She’s definitely not a humanitarian, or thinking about the next generation. She should have a meeting with the Grenfell community and then she might have an alternative view after speaking to us.

I’m absolutely disgusted and totally shocked. It’s abominable, and very conflicted considering what Theresa May has been saying. This decision might be good for industry, but it’s not good for the environment or for the people.

We know the dangers of this cladding. I’ve got children and grandchildren. I’m not going to be here forever but they don’t need to witness another Grenfell anywhere in this country. I can’t understand the logic behind it.

If the government is trying to prevent these kinds of things happening nationally, why is someone promoting this poison to harm society and the environment?

We talk about knife crime, trying to keep the numbers down, preventing it from happening. The same logic should be applied to flammable cladding. It shouldn’t be allowed. We didn’t have the resources to prevent Grenfell, and now we don’t seem to have the means to ban these toxic materials.

The people who make the cladding – and the contractors – have to be made accountable right now. We cannot let this be a normal thing.

Prevention is better than cure. It has to be banned. The government has got more say, and I hope they have woken up and realised there are human beings. This was and is a human tragedy and we don’t need any more of this nationally.

We don’t need any more crematoriums in the sky, and no generation needs to witness this again. Let’s lead by example in Britain.

By Clarrie Mendy for The Independent

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry – Blog by Yvette Williams MBE (J4G)

So the Prime Minister has ‘agreed’ that the Grenfell Inquiry Panel will have two additional Panel Members. What does this really mean? The answer is in the detail or rather the missing detail!

It has not been made clear if the two additional members will have equal decision-making powers to Judge Moore-Bick; how they will be selected; if there will be any community consultation or if they will be forced upon us, based on the civil servant’s perception of what they ‘think’ we want.  Let me be clear here, we need panel members who understand our lived experience and can challenge key factors that adversely impact communities like North Kensington. This means panel members will have to probe and challenge the Judge in a wider context and not accept government legislation and public policy as ‘normal’, as part of the accepted status quo. For the record it does not solely mean that both panel members have to ‘look like us’. Yes, it would give more community confidence in the Inquiry, but it is not intrinsic to having the expertise we need. To put this in plain English -It is vital that the PM and Inquiry team does not select panel members who look like us but ‘act’ like them.

The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Panel’s conclusion of Institutional racism was a watershed for inquiry outcomes and drive for change. Dr Richard Stone, a Jewish GP was a panel member. Richard also had extensive experience working against racism and social exclusion. He also sat on boards in the grant making charitable sector. One of the community organisations he funded and became involved with was the Mangrove, here in Notting Hill.  Richard originally came into contact with the Mangrove in his role as a GP. At a time when police brutality of black men was the ‘accepted’ the ‘norm’. Dr Stone was often the only local Doctor we could call out in the middle of the night to document the injuries inflicted by officers of the law.  Richard knew first hand the lived experience of the North Kensington Communities. His presence on the Public Inquiry paved the way for increased community confidence in the process.

The other missing details is why are the additional panel members only going to appointed for Phase 2 of the Inquiry. The Grenfell Inquiry website states:

‘the focus of Phase 1 will be the events of the night of 14 June 2017 and, in particular:

The existing fire safety and prevention measures at Grenfell Tower; where and how the fire started;

the development of the fire and smoke; how the fire and smoke spread from its original seat to other parts of the building; the chain of events before the decision was made that there was no further savable life in the building; and the evacuation of residents.

Phase 1 will also examine what the emergency services did by way of response, and when. The question of why they did what they did, and the adequacy of the emergency services’ response, including the appropriateness of the “stay put” policy, and the lessons to be learned, will be considered in Phase 2.’

How on earth are the additional panel members going to be able to identify lessons to be learnt if they have not heard what happened ‘on the night’ in Phase 1?? What should become clear from phase 1 is that government legislation and policy over many years all contributed to what happened on ‘the night’ and furthermore, how this has contributed to everything that is wrong with our society today. We don’t experience the impact of this, as a ‘phase;’ this is a systemic degradation and bordering inhumane treatment of communities up and down the country. This is what needs to be assessed at phase 1 and it is vital that we have two additional panel members at phase 1, who are able to raise this. What is the reason for them only sitting on the phase 2 panel, could it be about pushing forward with the already agreed inquiry schedule, that is already very late? Could it be money? Or could it be that they think that anyone with ‘community expertise’ wouldn’t understand the ‘complex technical issues’. I’m no technical building expert, but I can glean that it wasn’t solely the building materials used for the refurbishment at Grenfell tower that alone caused the fire; but rather the swathe of government deregulation policy that ‘allowed’ it to happen.

We cannot leave phase 1 to ‘privileged experts’ who talk solely about ‘technical issues.’ At least 72 people lost their lives in the fire at Grenfell Tower, many who survived still have no permanent home.

As we mourn what happened at Grenfell, we don’t talk about ‘the building’, we focus on the ‘people’. It is people who form communities.  It is people that will continue to Campaign in unity to interrogate this injustice. It is ultimately what links us to communities up and down the country; we are linked by the sheer nature of our humanity.

Yvette Williams

Hillsborough Law Letter – Press Release & Letter Copy

Press release
For Immediate release
11/05/18

Alison McGovern MP sends letter to the Prime Minister, urging support for ‘Hillsborough Law’ to assist Grenfell.

On Friday, Alison McGovern MP sent a letter to the Prime Minister, expressing cross-party support for ‘Hillsborough Law’, the Public Authority (Accountability) Bill, to assist the Grenfell public inquiry.

The letter comes with a reminder to the Prime Minister that she has ‘argued that it is priority for her government to tackle ‘burning injustices’ within our society and the Grenfell fire serves as a stark reminder that this issue goes beyond the suffering of the Hillsborough families’. There can be no injustice more cruel or painful than the experience of the Hillsborough families and that of the families of other victims of public disasters who have been treated in an appalling way by public bodies and by the legal system.

It is the hope of Alison McGovern MP and many others who have signed the letter including Andy Burnham, Len McCuskey, Professor Phil Scraton and Margaret Humphry’s, to make good commitment, support the measures contained within this Bill, and take a vital first step towards changing the culture by improving justice and accountability for public bodies in our country.

WOW Fest Liverpool – 3rd May 2018

On the 3rd May, Tasha made a keynote speech at WOW Fest in Liverpool at the Black-E on great George Street.

She then joined an panel of incredible people, hosted by Professor David Whyte. The panel, named #Justice4Grenfell, included Joel Benjamin, Pilgrim Tucker and Lowkey.

A wide range of topics was covered, from housing, to the initial and ongoing response by authorities, the media bias that the community faces, the housing crisis and the materials used on the tower, to name a few.

This was a very informative event, and we were able to take some important things away from it – but most importantly, as well as the vast amount of knowledge, we came away with huge support for the campaign, and the community.

Liverpool stands with Grenfell, even more so because of the similar trials and tribulations that the community of Liverpool have faced over many years. We are grateful to have their support.

 

Whitehawk Ultras in solidarity with Grenfell

Our friends at the Whitehawk Ultras in Brighton dedicated their last game of the season to the victims of Grenfell and the fight for justice the community is facing.

They displayed the Justice4Grenfell Banner throughout the game, and at 72 minutes into the game, they held images of the 72 victims of the disaster up for a moment of silence.

On Monday 7th, some members attended the Dulwich VS Hendon FC game at the KNK Stadium, and again, they carried the banner, making sure their message was loud and clear – Justice For Grenfell.

We’d like to thank the Whitehawk Ultras for their ongoing support and solidarity.

14th May 2018 – Birmingham Vigil for Grenfell

After 11 months there is still no justice for Grenfell.

In London, local residents are having silent marches on the 14th of every month to remember the people who died.

There will be a solidarity vigil in Birmingham on the 14th of May.

The vigil will meet at Waterstones, 24-26 High Street, Birmingham, B4 7SL at 17:30pm on the 14th May 2018.

This event is being organised by Stand Up To Racism, Birmingham Branch.

The FB event page can be found here: Birmingham Vigil for Grenfell

14th May 2018 – Southampton Solidarity March

A Silent March is being organised to show solidarity with the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

On June 14th 2017, a devastating fire engulfed the Grenfell Tower block in West London, leaving 72 dead. As a result of this horrific event, many have been left homeless and over 11,000 severely traumatised. While residents and some local councillors have endlessly reached out to the Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, many questions have yet remained unanswered.

It’s now time for Southampton ( and surrounding cities/towns/areas) to demonstrate our love and support for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. In times like this we need to come together, so please open your hearts and come as you are, beautiful people.

The Silent March will start at the Bargate, meeting for 18:00 to start walking at 18:30. The march will end at the O2 Guildhall Square with keynote speakers finishing off the event.

The FB Event Page can be found here: Southampton Solidarity March

The Shadow of Grenfell: Austerity, Gentrification and the Housing Crisis

Yvette spoke at a Public Meeting hosted by Waltham Forest Unite Branch on Wednesday 25th April. The meeting was titled –
The Shadow of Grenfell: Austerity, Gentrification and the Housing Crisis.
Yvette spoke about the Social, Historical, economical and political issues of  housing in Notting Hill. She drew a link with the current situation of the Windrush Generation and their experience of finding safe and affordable housing when they came to the UK;  Their experience of poor Housing Conditions and ruthless Landlords through to moving to social housing and the development of Housing Associations in the area. Managed decline of social housing – people moving out of the area and she also looked at the adverse impact on the local economy with the pricing out of businesses both in buildings on the Portobello Road market.
Additionally, she spoke of how gentrification was leading to the breaking up of a long standing diverse community and a new high priced purchasing community that doesn’t integrate.
Yvette said,
“The Atrocity that happened at Grenfell Tower shows us every thing that is wrong with our society. Inequality, Profit and Greed before people, discrimination, deregulation, the decline of public services, privatisation all have a hand in in what occurred.”