Seven Years since the Grenfell Atrocity

It is almost seven long years since the horrific events of June 14 2017. It is an atrocity etched indelibly into the hearts and minds of many in the UK, but even more so, inevitably, of those in North Kensington. As we approach the annual commemorations, KCSC spoke to Abbas Dadou, Chair of the Lancaster West Residents Association, the estate which bares the open scar to all who travel by rail, tube, car, bus, and even plane. I asked Abbas for a few words, to sum up where we are at now, Abbas said: 

"Seven years after the Grenfell atrocity, the community remains resilient and united in its pursuit of justice and meaningful change. The scars of the tragedy run deep, yet the spirit of solidarity has fostered a powerful movement for accountability and reform in housing safety standards." 

It is this solidarity, frequently tested by events, politics, personal circumstances - and the rigours of time as patience wears thin, that is astounding to people like me, who sit alongside this courageous community in this tortuous, often feverish battle for information, reparation and justice.  

As the anniversary approached the baleful news came through, from the Police, that the painful delays for justice have some way to go yet, as investigators wait for the conclusion of the Inquiry:  

"We believe it will take the investigation team at least 12-18 months to fully assess the inquiry’s report and complete evidential files to present to the Crown Prosecution Service for charging decisions." The full press release is here

The community is disappointed that prosecutions are still delayed, but they were never under any illusions that justice would be swift, having spoken early on in the process to those fighting for justice for Hillsborough, Orgreave and other justice campaigns. 

Yet the courage of the community still shines through, as does the determination that the deaths will not be in vain. As Abbas says: 

"Despite the pain and loss, the Grenfell community has become a beacon of hope and determination, advocating tirelessly to ensure that such a disaster is never repeated. Their unwavering commitment to preserving the memory of the 72 lives lost continues to inspire a broader call for social equity and safety within the United Kingdom.” 

KCSC will be publishing events to commemorate the Grenfell Fire in the days to come. 

To start Abbas provided the following: 

For the anniversary, the North Kensington Resource Centre (NKRC) on the estate will be open as a reflective space for the day, creating a chance to memorialise, join together peacefully in reflection, and get respite. The afternoon will include: 

  1. Reflection in a quiet space within NKRC through the afternoon to facilitate any resident's individual reflection, with a central memorial tree installed. From 2 pm. 

  2. A short memorial service with residents and local faith leaders invited, gathered around a new memorial tree outside the NKRC, at 4:30 pm. 

  3. Light refreshments served, all are invited to move together to the silent walk, should they wish, to finish by 6 pm. 

"This is open to all residents to attend and will encourage as many as able, to come and utilise this calm space. We want to create a peaceful time for meaningful reflection for us and our residents. Being outside this will help us with capacity, and residents will be able to gather around.  As the memorial service is short, it will work for the 10 or 100 residents who want to come and participate. 

Our plan developed having run different events over the last few years and we want to bring a more reflective and focused opportunity for residents and compliment other events." 

 

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