Grenfell Tower Fire: Petition to Demand Justice
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Sign this petition if you belong to the Lancaster West Estate or surrounding neighbourhood and believe that as well as common sense fire safety reform, the following actions should be taken. Alternately, sign it from wherever you are in the UK if you want to ensure that what has happened is not minimised and that we never forget the children and families who were burned alive in their homes.
1. Grenfell Tower's surviving residents be relocated to homes within their own borough by Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council.
2. Grenfell Tower's surviving residents receive an apology for the response they received from their Prime Minister, in which she gave a perfunctory, tone-deaf statement about 'lessons to be learnt'. Greater gravitas was required in speaking about an incident that has killed more people than any recent "terrorist" attacks as well as decimated the trust of an entire community; an incident that involves gross negligence at best and corporate manslaughter at worst. We would ask that the PM formally address the victims from a more serious setting in a tone better suited to an atrocity of this magnitude, especially given its relationship to local government.
3. The newly elected MP for Kensington prioritise sustained and forceful action in her constituency that protects poorer residents and small businesses against gentrification and social cleansing as well as helping to reverse the effects we have already seen. We also ask that she raise in the House of Commons the matter of prosecuting any organisation or individual whose actions are found to be connected to the scale and nature of the fire as the result of an inquest.
4. Ofcom instate diversity quotas for presenters on British news broadcasts so that when crises occur they are not communicated to the public exclusively via the polished prompts and platitudes of predominantly white middle class reporters. It adds insult to injury when – at their most vulnerable - communities are unable to be effectively seen or heard.
The Grenfell Tower Fire
At around 1am on the 14th June 2017 a high-rise on an estate in West London caught fire and quickly became entirely engulfed in flames to the sound of silence. No fire alarms rang and lights went out in the single, smoke-filled staircase. Residents were told to stay in their homes even though it became clear that despite the efforts of emergency services, they could not be rescued. The building burned all night as onlookers watched helplessly. Babies were thrown from windows. Men and women jumped to their deaths. A mother who escaped a flat with her six children made it out of the building to find only four of them at her side. Inhabitants of the tower screamed from windows, calling their friends, family and neighbours on the phone - begging to be saved before eventually falling silent.
Locals living on the family-friendly estate had been in touch with the council repeatedly with concerns regarding fire safety and general neglect. They attributed this neglect to the process of “regeneration”: a euphemism used to describe crowding out the poor to make room for the rich. Prior to the fire they had given accounts of how they felt that financially motivated bodies were making every effort to systematically disenfranchise them and ultimately remove them from a neighbourhood where they had lived their entire lives. Case in point: Grenfell Tower recently underwent an expensive refurbishment that included the introduction of cladding, a material which may have led to the fire and which was used to make the building aesthetically pleasing to new investors in the area.
Note: this petition was created on Change.org because due to the recent General Election there is no official Petitions Committee currently operating
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