20 months later, grenfell towers activists are still fighting

February 19, 2019
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With London Fashion Week in their corner, Justice4Grenfell refuses to be pushed aside. In 2017, a fire broke out at Grenfell Towers, a council house in London. The fire resulted in devastating tragedy with 72 deaths, over 70 people left injured and thankfully 223 people who escaped. The fire occurred due to building negligence which enraged the public as the people of Grenfell Tower had made their concerns of the building being a fire hazard clear to management company KCTMO. They were ignored. This story picked up speed locally and globally attracting activists and public figures. It evolved from a story of mourning into an opportunity to hold government officials accountable. The people will no longer be silenced, and in order to be heard we need as many people in our corner shouting out against injustice. Back in 2017, musician and activist Akala outlined the systemic issues that allowed for the deadly fire.


Two years later, and there is still no justice for the people of Grenfell Towers. A few days after the Grenfell Fire Disaster, community-led organization Justice4Grenfell (J4G) was formed. The mission of the organization is to focus “on the long term goal of obtaining justice for the bereaved families, survivors, evacuated residents, and the wider local community, partnering with representative organizations”. On the 14th of each month they participate in silent walks from Notting Hill Methodist Church to the Grenfell Memorial Wall. J4G exists because the authorities have turned their backs on the people. 

20 months since the disaster, the people of Grenfell Towers have found a friend in London Fashion Week. Different organizations including J4G teamed up to make a statement, using the very powerful notion of solidarity as a means to implement change. One of the organizations to join this demonstration was BBH Labs who took inspiration from film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri where a mother puts up billboards to force the police to investigate the murder of her daughter.

Seen on @ImaniAmrani on twitter.

The power of the community is described best by bereaved family member and campaigner Damel Carayol who lost two family members in the fire, 

“My cousin and myself formed a group called ‘Humanity for Grenfell’ here with ‘Justice4Grenfell’. Different groups have been formed in the community. But it’s also to let people know that we are not disparate. We are not different groups. We are branches from the same trunk of this tree. (…) Branches do cross over sometimes in harmony they do hold hands in the wind. That’s why I’m here doing today with Justice4Grenfell.”

This moving sentiment by Carayol was felt on the runway and through the photos that came out of their display at London Fashion Week. 72 activists including supermodel-activist Adwoah Aboah, and musician-activist Emeli Sandé wore a #NoDeathInVain t-shirt inspired once again by France’s Mcdormand’s character in “Three Billboards”. The t-shirts designed by Grenfell Speaks and Splitsquare Design said, “72 dead and still no arrests? How come?”

Spokesperson for the Justice4Grenfell, Yvette Williams, explained the decision to partner with LFW,

London Fashion week is a perennial event in the international calendar and highlights the world talent, creativity and inspiration in our diverse city. “The fire at Grenfell Tower is the unfashionable side of London where 72 people needlessly lost their lives. Their deaths will not be in vain. We are honoured to be a part of LFW that will assist our campaign in keeping a global focus on what happened at Grenfell, and to support the bereaved families in their continued fight for truth and justice. (…) The accountable authorities have been inadequate and tardy in their response and 20 months on, no significant changes or improvements have been made and no one to date has been held responsible. These factors and issues are fundamental to ensuring that nothing like this is ever allowed to happen again.

Let’s stand in solidarity and demand justice for the Grenfell Towers community.