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Residents of council tower blocks and estates across East and South London dropped 22 banners – one for each of the 22 residential floors in the 24 storey Grenfell Tower, destroyed by fire in Latimer Road on 14 June – in a show of mass solidarity with victims, survivors and local community.
The action on Tuesday 27 June was dubbed ‘East 4 West – Grenfell Solidarity’ and was mainly organised by black and brown communities with people of all faith living in social housing in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney, Southwark amongst several others.
“We wanted to bring together estates from South East and North East London,” organisers say, to show “peer to peer social housing tenant solidarity, at a time when London estates are being socially cleansed in the name of regeneration which is neither resident-led or accountable, leading to the break-up of communities all over the capital.”
Organisers responded to requests from the Grenfell Action Group that solidarity actions with residents in the area be creative, imaginative and healing at the current time of intense grief and pain in the community.
An estimated 261 residents of Grenfell Tower are still unaccounted for according to the Grenfell Action Group, a figure far higher than the 79 confirmed dead in official government account.
The collective statement reads:
Ends to ends, estates to estates, we hope this action brings together our communities and also makes the people of East, North and South London aware that our realities are not too far away from those of Grenfell and its local communities We direct the eyes of our community towards Grenfell, to remember all who are gone and to keep our hearts with you.
We came together because many of us do not have the funds or the living space that others have to offer and we know nothing can bring back what was taken from you.
We too, live in inner city council estates and tower blocks. Our communities are working class, black, brown, people of all faiths, poor and proud. We wanted to find a way to show you that we are holding you however we can; in prayers, love, resistance and solidarity. We have not forgotten you.
We know that there is a long journey towards justice and community repair. We believe in you. We know that you can heal your communities and get the justice you deserve.
We stand in solidarity with your demands for justice. Justice will be yours and because of that justice will be ours.
We are with you.
We will never forget.
With love and solidarity,
Your East London Fam
This action was a collective effort of many east London social housing residents and our friends. We want to acknowledge Queensland House estate and Richard Neale House estate, we were unable to capture their banner drops due to their building being high towers and windy weather.