The Grenfell Community’s Silent Steps for Justice

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On the seven-month anniversary of Grenfell Tower fire in London, the local community hold their monthly Silent Walk and share their thoughts on how they are coping and the wider reasons for the tragedy

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Story Transcript

LOWKEY: So tonight is the seven-month anniversary of the Grenfell disaster, and today we have gathered people — as we do the 14th of every single month — for a silent march around the immediate area where the fire happened. As a local resident of the community, I find this process to be beneficial in terms of catharsis, but also moreover, it is an opportunity; it’s an opportunity for political organizing, and this is part of the phoenix that has arisen out of the ashes of our loved ones and friends.

AMAL BIDER: A lot of people have not been housed yet. More than half have not been housed. You have the survivors, but then you also have the walkaways. And the people that are walkaways are also traumatized, but nowhere near as much as survivors, of course. The people that are walkaways are living in hotels also, and I have been working since the 14th of June with families and young people who now suffer mental health issues. Children as young as four who I’ve met are running around, screaming at nighttime, trying to leave their house, evacuate to save themselves from the fire, which … there was no fire.

ZEYAD CRED: In regarding to the official system and the official state of play in regards to the tragedy and what’s being done, the community aren’t happy with the proceedings and with the ongoings, and rightly so. If we’re talking based on us as a community and how we stand as a community, stronger than ever before. And that tragic first two weeks of the Grenfell tragedy, really allowed people within the community to understand how strong we are together. When we’ve got different people of different faiths and different skin tones and different religions and different genders all coming together and really working together, really made people believe that there is a power within as we come together as one.

Crowd: Justice.

Speaker 4: Justice.

Crowd: Justice.

Speaker 4: Justice.

Crowd: Justice.

Speaker 4: Justice.

Crowd: Justice.

Speaker 4: Justice.

A. FERNANDEZ: After seven months of living in a hotel basically with a lack of communication, it feels like living in limbo, to be honest. It’s been extremely slow. It’s been extremely frustrating not getting any answers as to what’s happening, and a sense of people washing their hands. Voiceless, you feel very voiceless, very helpless. And to be honest, me personally, I felt that I was most safe in the hands of my community and not in any authority’s. So yeah, exhausted, I’d say, seven months on.

LOWKEY: We’ve just been on the march, and where we are now is right next to Ground Zero, Grenfell Tower. When we talk about Grenfell Tower, we’re talking about a case of citizenry sacrificed to the interests of a construction company; but not just one construction company, the construction industry in general.

When we look at the fact that this insulation that turned out to be the equivalent of 30,000 liters of petrol draped on the side of this building, and currently on the side of hospitals and schools throughout the country; when you look at the fact that this, in terms of regulation, was allowed to happen; we look in depth at the regulatory bodies and we see the influence of BRUFMA, the lobby for insulation companies; we look at Celotex, we look at Saint-Gobain, and we’re looking at the ways in which these regulatory bodies which are meant to be keeping us safe have been penetrated by captains of industry who are trying to sell material which actually endangers our lives.