4,000 workers & youth mark 7th anniversary of the Grenfell Tower Fire!

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The Silent Walk sets off in the shadow of Grenfell Tower

OVER 4,000 workers youth and local residents came to Ladbroke Grove in west London on Friday to mark the 7th anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, which happened on June 14th 2017.

The Silent Walk is held through the streets of North Kensington near the tower on every anniversary and also on December 14.

Before it started, local youth made speeches and read poems about how the fire had affected their lives and how they were determined to continue the fight that those responsible would be held to account.

A number also established a connection with the struggle of the Palestinian people where companies involved in the construction of the cladding material used on the Grenfell Tower also use it in making parts used by the Israeli military in the killing of Palestinians.

Addressing the rally at the end of the walk, Mauricio Gomez, one of the Bereaved Grenfell family members, said: ‘It’s painful every year but this year feels heavy.

‘Twelve months ago we stood here on this stage and spoke to all of you. We told you that nothing has changed. The people still live in death traps like Grenfell, the government still has not implemented the phase one of the report recommendations and that the inquiry still has not published the phase 2 report.

‘The list goes on. Today, seven years since our loved ones were murdered, still nothing has changed. We sound like a broken record. Grenfell was not a catalyst for change.

‘72 people burned to death, and every single one of those deaths was avoidable.  Their lives were taken away by those who were supposed to protect us.

‘Local politicians spend their time playing the game.  “Let’s see who can smear better” – even smearing the victims they claim to represent.

‘Vital life saving recommendations on fire safety from the public inquiry. The government’s time is up, campaign groups across the country are uniting under the same battle for justice.

‘We send a message to the new government, to fix this broken country rebuild this broken system. We demand justice, we demand change and we demand justice.’

Akinnola Covid-19 Campaigner said: ‘I’m here today because I lost my father Femi Akinnola to Covid-19 in April 2020. A kind and loving man. He was one of over 200,000 people who lost their lives to Covid-19 from all walks of life, colours and creeds.

‘The one thing they have in common and one thing they share with the 72 beautiful souls we honour today is that the Tory government failed them.

‘It’s the same inadequacies the same injustices that led to the same victims. This cannot be allowed to stand anymore.

‘We are all here today to represent those who do not have a voice. We have fought for inquiries before because without account we cannot have accountability. But we need more. We need action. We need change.

‘I’m proud to stand here today representing Kobe Breed Families standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Grenfell United. How many more lives could have been saved?

‘If the government had listened to the recommendations and learned the lessons from Lakanal House, we wouldn’t all be here today.

‘But the thing that I see today from all the speakers hearing the pain yet powerful voices of children and the testimonies is that the government is not there for the people.

‘I believe our actions our voices and our unity will ensure that our lost loved ones and all those who have suffered because of the government’s actions will lead to a better tomorrow.

‘No longer will profit prioritise over people, We will be allowed to stand together side by side as a united voice. We will ensure that the legacy of our loved ones is not one of sorrow but of change, and it will be a legacy of justice.’

Mikey, a local resident said: ‘I would like to thank you all for joining us tonight.  Seven years ago, we watched 72 people die. 18 children burned to death. That was no accident, there are people to blame.

‘Five years on from the phase inquiry, there are still people living in buildings just like this and Grenfell Two is waiting to happen.

‘Politicians, for the last seven years, have fobbed us off. We are an abandoned community, we were fractured. But what we are is a family.

‘Look at us, we have been here for seven years.

‘We are walking, we are not going to stop. What we have witnessed today, is a changing of the guard. I watched young people as they were eight years old at the time of the fire.

‘They are now 15 and 16 years old, and they made some of the most powerful speakers I have ever heard in my life earlier today.

‘We are here to serve you young people. Whatever you want to do to fight for justice. We will facilitate it to you. Tell us where, tell us how and we will be there.’

Jason Evans from the Factor 8 infected blood scandal campaign organisation told News Line: ‘When I was 4 years old my dad died of AIDS which might seem like a strange thing to say today.

‘But he was a victim of the infected blood scandal. As you may have seen in the news last month the inquiry report came out very damning of the whole system.

‘It’s a similar story to Grenfell, corners cut, profits put ahead of lives.

‘Between two and a half thousand people were infected with hepatitis C and around 1,200, including my own father, were infected with HIV. Of that only around 200 are still alive most died in the 1990s.

‘The government are now setting up a compensation scheme, but will anyone really be held accountable?  Will the pharmaceutical companies that made millions of dollars selling these factor 8 products be imprisoned? No, even though they  knew the risks.

‘I joined the walk today. I’ve never joined the walk before, but what you have here is a truly incredible Community. I wish we had that that same Community. We’ve got our truths and answers last month. Your inquiry is coming towards the end of this year and we’ve got representatives from other inquiries here coming down that trap.

‘Whether the Tory, Labour or Lib Dems get in, it doesn’t matter. We fully support your cause, we got our truth and answers and I hope to god you get yours.’
• See photo gallery