News

Woman’s fight for justice

It has been a hectic few weeks for Clarrie Mendy following the tragic death of two of her relatives in the Grenfell fire disaster.

Faced with such a shocking loss, she felt that the many disparate voices that emerged out of the ashes of the inferno on behalf of victims did not necessarily speak for her.

Clarrie Mendy

“I decided to set up my own body so that everyone could come together as a collective,” says Clarrie, an events organiser from north London.

“We are here with a common objective to find justice but it is how we go about it that is important.”

In July her Relative Justice for Grenfell organised an ecumenical memorial service at St Helen’s Church in North Kensington for her cousins, mother and daughter Mary Mendy and Khadija Saye, and three others who also perished in the blaze, Berkit Haftom and her 12-year-old-son Beruk, and Isaac Paulos, five, all members of the Ethiopian Orthodox congregation based at St Peter’s Church in Belsize Park. The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, gave the sermon.

“He said people have every right to be angry about what has happened but that we should use this anger as a positive and creative force, something I really want to take on board.”

People prepare to release doves

Last month, Relative Justice commanded a bigger stage with a multi-faith remembrance of Grenfell to mark the beginning of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival. Among those who attended was the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who alongside the bereaved helped to release dozens of white doves into the sky.

“It was extremely moving and when people tell me it was the best day they’ve had since the fire I know that I am doing the right thing.”

It is still early days for her organisation but aside from running vital support services Clarrie sees it as a bridge between the community and the authorities in the quest to find out why Grenfell became, in her words,  a crematorium.

“While we are not going to get justice overnight we are not going to wait for 27 years like Hillsborough. I have lost relatives but I have been adopted by a community and I will do all I can to see justice prevail.”

This article was first published in West End Extra on September 1, 2017

 

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