News

London/Manchester Joint Grenfell Solidarity March

THE FIGHT for justice for every single man, woman and child who died in the Grenfell Tower and their families and the survivors who are still languishing in hotels almost eight months after the tragic fire is now spreading across the nation.

For the first time, next Wednesday, Manchester and London will march in tandem, with a silent march in North Kensington, London, coordinated with a silent march through central Manchester.

Since the tragedy on 14 June, protesters have held monthly silent marches near the Kensington site and with each march the deep-rooted anger, at the council, the government and the Tenants Management Organisation (TMO), has increased. Every month, the numbers grow. Last month, there were thousands on the streets.

Hundreds of survivors from the tower and the immediate buildings are still languishing in temporary accommodation, despite promises to fast-track them into new homes.

The march through Manchester will include a silent candlelit procession led by 71 people – each carrying a placard bearing the photo of someone who died. This will be followed by a minute’s silence and speeches in Piccadilly Gardens.

Kevin Allsop, who has organised the event for trades union association GMATUC, said: ‘We wanted to show our support to the people of Grenfell and hope that other cities will then pick up the baton and do something similar on the anniversary of the fire, on 14 June.’

Joe Delaney, whose low-rise block is connected to the tower, will attend the march. He is still living in a hotel almost two miles away from home. According to Kensington and Chelsea Council, 248 households continue to reside in their homes on the Lancaster West Estate, of which the tower is part, while 66 households are in emergency hotel accommodation.

On the night of the fire, he left his home without any belongings – other than his two dogs – after spending hours helping to raise the alarm and evacuate neighbours.

It took four days of fighting with the local authority for him to be offered emergency accommodation – during which time he and his neighbour, who has a toddler, were forced to stay with one of his friends.

He said: ‘People have no trust in Kensington Borough Council. The police recovery teams are still working next to my flat and the council still hasn’t shown evidence that the building is fire-safe, eight months on.

‘This safety issue is bigger than Grenfell though. This is a national issue – there are blocks across the country with unsafe claddingstill on, and where it has been removed residents are freezing.

‘The protections for tenants in this country are appalling and no matter which party is in government, little seems to change. Safety should not be seen as an undue burden. How dare they!’

The event begins at 6.15pm on 14 February at the junction of Market Street and Cross Street in central Manchester while the silent march in North Kensington begins at 5.30pm outside Kensington Town Hall, Hornton St, Kensington, London W8 7NX.

Please do contact us if you’d like to host a walk or a vigil in your hometown or City on the 14th of a month. We’d love to hear from you.

Silent Walk Update

The Silent Walk will be starting at a different location and time as of the 14th February 2018.

We will now meet outside of Kensington & Chelsea Town Hall, Hornton St, W8 at the earlier time of 17:30pm. We will follow the route shown on the below map.

Please feel free to join us at any point of the route that you can. We look forward to seeing you – please wrap up warm!

#Justice4Grenfell

J4G Public Meeting Photos

On the 1st February, Justice4Grenfell hosted a Public Meeting titled ‘Grenfell: How can we get justice?’

We had some great speakers, such as Emma Dent Coad MP, Brian Richardson (Stand Up To Racism), Eileen Short (Defend Council Housing), Matt Wrack (Fire Brigades Union), Clarrie Mendy (Bereaved family member & Co-founder of Humanity4Grenfell) and Kevin Courtney (National Education Union). There were over 200 people in attendance, and some important points were made from the floor by the community.

The meeting raised some key Grenfell-related issues:

  • Inequality
  • Housing
  • Fire Safety
  • Cuts to public services
  • The lack of action that’s been taken on previous recommendations after similar avoidable tragedies
  • A shocking amount of properties in RBKC are sitting empty, some for years
  • The painful ongoing experience and frustrations of the bereaved families, survivors & the wider community
  • 98 households are still in emergency accommodation
  • No arrests

Look out for dates for future meetings. The fight for justice continues…!

 

All photos are the copyright of Nicholas Grigorian & J4G  ©

 

J4G Press Release – 1st February 2018

**For Immediate Release**

The Justice4Grenfell Campaign is outraged that survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire who have core participation status in the upcoming Public Inquiry could face the possibility of deportation .

Immediately after the disaster Theresa May said no one should feel scared about coming forward. Then immigration minister Brandon Lewis announced a pitiful one-year amnesty for undocumented migrants living in the tower. Now he has said survivors can apply for permanent residence, but only after a five-year period of regular observation by the state. This constant shifting of the immigration policy has meant that people will not come forward with crucial information for the Public Inquiry and the criminal investigation. Survivors suffering from various kinds of trauma are not accessing trauma and bereavement services.

J4G are also concerned that the Home Office policy for families bereaved by the fire simply does not go far enough. Relatives who were granted visas in the aftermath of the fire, now face the possibility of their visas expiring. Yet in some cases, it has taken over four months for remains to be released and funerals to take place. This could mean that families will have to leave the UK before any substantive hearings at Inquests or the Public Inquiry, and before any completion of the police investigation and criminal proceedings.

Labour MP’s Emma Dent Coad and Dianne Abbott’s letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, highlights concerns that the Justice4Grenfell campaign raised in October 2017 when we pointed out that “This piecemeal and underhand policy does not encourage undocumented survivors to confidently come forward, and if survivors do not come forward then justice cannot be served.”

We therefore repeat our call for a full and comprehensive amnesty to allow survivors to take part in the inquiry or for their family members to support them.

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RE: Resignation of Michael Clarke by Mahad Egal

Dear Barry Quirk,

Re: Resignation of Michael Clarke

My name is Mr Mahad Egal, I am a survivor of 15 Grenfell Tower and I am calling for the immediate resignation of Michael Clarke.

It has come to my attention that Michael Clarke is the Director of Communications & Community Engagement at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.​ ​

I am deeply concerned of the remit of his role at RBKC with obvious sensitivities this requires, given his previous appointment as​ ​Head of Press for the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry. This concern is further compounded by his previous role as interim Chief Media spokesman for First Secretary of State Damian Green and Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, and I suggest his position is untenable.

Given your role as Town Clerk with oversight and direct responsibility for your subordinates at RBKC, this also raises​ ​alarms about your approach to governing RBKC, moving from the consultation model to a community-led one.

I know that Mr Clarke began his assignment with RBKC in September 2017
at the time he was shown the impact that the lack of effective communications and community engagement has had, the erosion of trust between RBKC and residents was outlined clearly along with an indication of what was needed to effect change. Given Mr Clarke’s remit included these key areas it is obvious that he has consistently failed in his responsibilities and despite repeated warnings, officers maintained a lofty distance from the community and this only increased the suffering and confusion caused initially by RBKC’s disastrous first response on 14th June.

It is reasonable in any professional setting for individuals who consistently underperform to be held accountable for their poor performance. The community has seen no evidence that Mr Clarke has either been reminded of the responsibilities assigned to his position and salary or has himself proactively enacted improvements following repeated contestations from members of the community and various public servants. His position has long been untenable, a view confirmed by the revelations at the last Grenfell Scrutiny Meeting.

Seven months into the recovery of the worst fire in London since World War Two; Mr Clarke and his team presented a community engagement paper that presented a mixture of weak theory, with no evidence of action, meaningful objectives or indeed any indication of actual achievement.

Immediately after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, Mr Clarke was responsible for hiding the ‘Grenfell Tower Tragedy’ on page 7 of the local ‘Royal Borough’ paper. It is widely acknowledged that the Grenfell Tower Fire has changed the lives of those who live in North Kensington forever, it is, therefore, inconceivable that this was not published on the front page of the paper and presents the first attempt of a ‘cover-up’.

I am deeply saddened by Mr Clarke’s decisions and have no confidence in his future decisions. Survivors of Grenfell Tower are currently suffering from a lack of communication from RBKC, and this is jeopardising the future of the local community. The failure of Mr Clarke to engage with the community has unveiled his intentions of covering up the tragedy. I would, therefore, like to call for the immediate resignation of Michael Clarke.

Please note that a petition calling for the resignation of Michael Clarke will be in circulation following this email.

Regards,

Mahad Egal