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The powerful story told by the three billboards outside Grenfell, London

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Kayleigh Dray
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The official investigation into what really happened at Grenfell is still ongoing, so campaigners have borrowed a famous scene from a Hollywood film to urge the public and the authorities not to forget the tragedy.

Three billboards with the words ’71 dead, ‘and still no arrests?’ and ‘how come?’ emblazoned across them have made their way around London today (15 Feb).

In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Frances McDormand stars as Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother who uses the three billboards of the title to admonish the local chief of police, Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), when he fails to find the man responsible for her daughter’s violent murder.

In sequence, they read: “Raped while dying”, “And still no arrests?”, and “How come, Chief Willoughby?”

Now, activists calling for justice for victims and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have taken a leaf out of Hayes’ book, mounting their own three billboards on the backs of lorries and driving them around London.

The lorries were driven through Parliament Square and St Paul’s Cathedral, before coming to a stop outside the burnt remains of the tower in Kensington, where a community gathering was held.

According to HuffPost UK, Justice4Grenfell spokesperson Yvette Williams told those in attendance: “The film that we are using as inspiration, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, highlights the power of advertising to bring about justice.

“We wanted to harness this power to remind people how little has been done since the tragic event shook this community, and the country, just over eight months ago.

“These billboards are here because there have still been no arrests, hundreds of survivors remain homeless, and 297 other towers in the UK are still covered in flammable cladding. 

“Furthermore, requests from survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire to appoint a diverse decision-making panel to sit alongside the head of the public inquiry have been denied.”

On the Justice4Grenfell website, it reads: “Eight months on from the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower, the issue is being ignored.

“71 people died in the Grenfell Tower.

“And still no arrests.

“And still 297 flammable towers.

“And still hundreds of survivors are homeless.

“And still they are not represented on the inquiry.

“And still there is no justice.”

It finishes by saying that “these three billboards are here to keep this tragedy in the national conscience, to make our voices heard”.

“Our voices call for change to a system that kills,” it states. “And our voices demand justice for Grenfell.”

Kensington and Chelsea was handed back responsibility for dealing with the crisis in September last year, although the council is viewed with hostility and mistrust by many residents.

As reported by the Evening Standard, the latest figures show “633 rehoming offers have been made to the 207 households. All of those who have engaged with the council have received at least one offer. Of these, 55 have moved into permanent accommodation and 49 have accepted offers but are in temporary homes and hotels while they wait for sales to complete and flats to be redecorated.

“A further 60 are in temporary accommodation while they decide on their offer and the remaining 43 are in emergency accommodation.”

The second procedural hearing in the highly contentious Grenfell Inquiry has meanwhile been announced for 21 and 22 March.

Find out more about how you can support the victims of the Grenfell fire at thebiggive.org.uk, localgiving.org and redcross.org.uk

Image: Justice4Grenfell

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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