UK Black Pride member confirmed among victims of Grenfell Tower inferno

 

Press Release

For Immediate Release
London, 23 June 2017

UK Black Pride member confirmed among victims of Grenfell Tower inferno – fundraising memorial for survivors to be held at festival

  • UK Black Pride supports survivors’ call for urgent public inquiry to learn vital lessons
  • One minute silence to be observed alongside fundraising activity for survivors’ fund
  • UK Black Pride festival will be held on Sunday 9 July in London’s Vauxhall Gardens

UK Black Pride Europe’s largest not-for-profit organization for African, Asian, Arab, and Caribbean-heritage lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people – is devastated to learn that one of its members was among the scores of people killed in the catastrophic fire that tore through Grenfell Tower in West London on 14 June 2017.

Family of the UK Black Pride member have confirmed that the individual was in Grenfell Tower on the night of the incident and has been formally identified among those who did not survive the blaze. The family has asked for the identity of the individual not to be publicized so that they can grieve in private but they have called on UK Black Pride to support survivors’ demands for an open, honest and timely public inquiry to find out what happened, why, and how it can be prevented in the future.

With new facts emerging each day about missed warning signs and alleged mismanagement by Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, the company paid to manage Grenfell, there has also been widespread fury at Conservative leaders of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, whose emergency response was so poor that relief efforts were taken out of their hands.

Despite valiant efforts of the community and depleted fire service they could not reach the missing hundreds who are known to reside in Grenfell Tower. As the fireball enveloped the 24-floor building, the result was that very few managed to escape. More than a week after the incident many people are still missing and it is unclear how many perished. Although the number of confirmed victims rises as each day passes, fire investigators have been unable to uncover all the charred human remains. Each new report adds to the injury and injustice felt by grieving family and friends of Grenfell victims. Many of them know residents in the building who voiced health and safety concerns for a long time but were ignored, while others were threatened with legal action if they repeated concerns in public.

UK Black Pride Executive Director, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, said: “We’re in a state of shock about the number of lives lost and the extent of damage done. We offer our condolences to the families and loved ones of each person who lost their life, was injured, or is otherwise affected by this avoid- able tragedy that unfolded in Grenfell Tower. Our thoughts are with those affected, especially the family of our member who we have been in contact with over recent days, and we want to help amplify the immediate needs and longer-term safety and security concerns of the survivors.

“UK Black Pride will be holding a one minute silence in memory of all victims, including our Black LGBT member. We will also be raising vital funds to provide the emergency needs of those affected by the fire and unable to return to their homes in the surrounding area. This is an open invitation for everyone to join us at our annual music festival will take place on Sunday 9 July in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.”

UK Black Pride Director of Public Affairs, Pav Akhtar, who was a councillor in London, said: “’Our immediate priority is to support the victims of Grenfell Tower, families with young children, the elderly and the vulnerable. However, we are also supporting survivors calls for a public inquiry to understand what happed and learn the lessons that have been laid bare. We know that this avoidable tragedy speaks volumes about the inequality of power, privilege and agency between the haves and have nots in Britain. It was the Council’s duty to ensure proper health and safety measures, and fire-retardant materials, were in place to protect all its citizens. That did not happen. For the wealthiest council in Britain, with more than £750 million in reserves, just £6,000 of the money sat unspent in its accounts would have paid for fire-retardant material in Grenfell Tower and saved 80 lives. That also did not happen.

“What is clear from voices on the ground is that one section of Kensington boasts multi-million pound properties belonging to upper or middle class white people, while the other is dominated by white, working class, and second or third generation immigrant people. The difference in living standards and provision of services could not be starker. The needs of Black LGBT people, who often need more support from public service providers, also left a lot to be desired. If we learn just one lesson from this tragedy it must be that each person has a human right to live with dignity and respect in a home that is safe and public services that are accessible. It can never be right, in Britain, that one’s income bracket or ethnicity decides this.”

About UK Black Pride

UK Black Pride maintains a strong identity as a grassroots-led movement. We believe the most effective way to secure LGBT equality, inclusion and justice is by opposing all forms of bigotry and putting people before profit. The Past, Present, Future…Love Happens Here theme signals our determination to stand up for LGBT love and equality against all purveyors of hate. Join us!

As Britain makes progress towards tackling discrimination against the LGBT community, the reality is that intolerance is still being fanned around the world. UK Black Pride members come from many of those places so understand why we must stand against assaults on the basic human rights of LGBT persons at home and abroad. By compelling our government, we know we can empower activists to call on their states to end the legalisation of hate. By showing that love lives here, there, and everywhere. That it always did and always will. It is our hope that we can move all states to change course and support the human rights and dignity of all LGBT people everywhere. Join us!

This year’s UK Black Pride festival will see our community inject a global flavour into the heart of the LGBT community supported by Pride in London. This will be an inclusive event for all to enjoy!”

Notes for editors:

There are many ways to get involved in making UK Black Pride 2017 a success:

  1. For UK Black Pride media and sponsorship enquiries, email: pav@ukblackpride.org.uk
  2. For information about food or market stall bookings, email: moud@ukblackpride.org.uk
  3. For information about volunteering at UK Black Pride, visit: http://ukblackpride.org.uk
  4. For information about UK Black Pride visit:
  5. For details about Pride in the Park visit: Pride in London

Leave a Reply