Half a Million People Campaign to Make Sure Grenfell is Not ForgottenJul 7, 2017
In the wake of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, neighbours close-by, and the British public witnessing from a distance, were shaken.
From feelings of devastation that this fire has broken so many families, to anger from those who say the gravity of the tragedy could have been lessened had voices been listened to; it would be natural to feel helpless. But in this time of frustration and sadness, there is not defeat nor silence. There is a strong urgency, a powerful determination from the public to fight injustice and to feel sure the safety of their homes is never up for compromise again.
That’s why in the past three weeks, over half a million people, have been starting and signing petitions as a response to Grenfell. In this short time an powerful movement has risen – telling stories about what has happened and taking actions to ensure things change.
Mirna is one person who created change after Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali was the first victim declared at Grenfell. Mirna is his family friend and started this petition to ensure his mother and father were granted visas to come to the UK for his funeral.
In less than 24 hours, Mirna’s petition was backed by over 80,000 people and gained national press. The campaign prompted the Home Office to ensure his family was permitted to visit the UK.
Past failings on fire safety and the need for attention is being brought to the forefront too. John who lives close to Grenfell said:
“I will never forget the image of that hollowed-out building, now a skeleton on the skyline. Or the wreckage in the nearby children’s play area, which I had passed so many times before.”
Since Grenfell, he has been leading a campaign to implement fire safety recommendations that were made before the incident after a fire in Lakanal House, another London tower block, 8 years back.
People are seeking accountability and justice over what happened too. Khadija Saye was a 24 year old artist living in Grenfell Tower – her and her mother Mary were trapped on the 20th floor and never made it out. Khadija worked from out of her flat and she had recently been chosen to exhibit her work at the Venice Biennale at the UK’s Diaspora Pavilion.
Khadija’s friends and colleagues from the Diaspora Pavilion and Beyond the Frame, started this petition to get justice for her and the other victims through criminal prosecutions.
These campaigns are just a few in the movement. Working at Change.org, we know that some campaigns and change may take longer than others. But what we’ve seen before and are seeing here, are people with a strong sense of justice, continuing to take action, and making sure what matters does not fall to the sidelines. All this is happening with a clear mandate that there is no escape, nothing is too important to mean it is put aside. Knowing that lives are on the line, decision makers can not dwell from a place of inaction.
It is moving to see the bravery of those seeking to make lives better at such a difficult time and we thank those who are doing so.