This Sunday marks the three year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. The blaze, started by a malfunctioning fridge-freezer on the fourth floor and exacerbated by the building’s flammable cladding, was symbolic of decades of government neglect. 72 people died, more than 70 were injured and many residents who had lost their homes ended up in temporary accommodation for months, or even years.
Named after Field Marshal Francis Grenfell, who was involved in colonial pursuits in Africa, the 24-storey block was hastily built in 1972 as a measure to clear slums and gentrify the area. A similar building, Ronan Point, collapsed only two months after construction due to a faulty gas system, and many were worried for the safety of Grenfell’s residents. Just seven months before the fire, Grenfell Action Group posted on their blog: “It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO [The Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation].”
Grenfell United is an organisation set up to support the survivors and bereaved families of the disaster. To mark the anniversary, the group usually coordinates a silent walk to Kensington Memorial Park. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they have cancelled these gatherings.
For this year’s anniversary, Grenfell United are instead asking people to join them virtually for a day of remembrance. They will be hosting conversations with the community on their Instagram throughout the day, while a two minute silence will be streamed on their YouTube at 6pm, followed by an online multi-faith vigil.
Finally, the group is asking you to show solidarity at 10:30pm by going green for Grenfell. To join in, all you need to do is switch off your lights, open your curtains and head to Grenfell United’s YouTube channel or GoGreenForGreenfell.com on your smart TV, laptop, tablet or phone. These links will play a short film which will illuminate your room green.
Remember, the Grenfell inquiry is still in process and the unsafe cladding used in Grenfell Tower remains on thousands of buildings in the UK. Going green for Grenfell is not just a day of remembrance, but also a time to demand justice and change.