Victims of the Grenfell tower fire were honoured in the opening ceremony of the annual Notting Hill Carnival as dozens of white doves were released by survivors, in an act of solidarity.
Municipal leaders urged crowds to “come in the spirit of peace.” This act of remembrance took place against the backdrop of the charred tower, a moving and symbolic image to the world. Paramedics and firefighters were amongst the crowds who honoured the victims of the tower.
A minute’s silence was also held across the carnival by revellers, as arms were raised to the sky to mark the tragedy of the fire. The usually lively event was put to a complete stand-still, as all music acts and floats stopped. Earlier in the day London’s mayor Sadiq Khan had urged attendees to keep the Grenfell victims in their thoughts and prayers, whilst also reminding crowds that the event takes place “in the context of sadness and sorrow.”
The colour green was adorned across the entirety of the event by those who had responded to the “Green for Grenfell” campaign. The fundraiser had first had first sparked interest in Fulham’s Cross Girl’s school in London that encouraged wearing the colour green and donating £1 to the survivors of the tower fire who had lost everything. Organisers hope that painted green hearts and green clothing across West London will symbolise “reverence and respect amidst the revelry.”
During the event Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad addressed the “Grenfell Generation” stating that: "Carnival is for dancing, laughing, singing along and having a wonderful time with our community and those closest to us”. The carnival held this week embraced diversity, with the festival showcasing African, Asian, Caribbean and European culture.
Grime MC AJ Tracey had advised the people of West London to remain peaceful during the carnival, asserting that the government would be ‘more reluctant to giving answers if you riot.’ Hackney-based dance group Muraldo Mass danced to show their support to survivors, in the pursuit of spreading recognition for victims not just locally but across all of London.
Despite previous talks about abandoning the event from London’s minister Greg Hands, Sadiq Khan successfully rejected the call allowing this weekend’s successful Carnival to take place. Mr Khan in a statement affirmed that: Carnival belongs on the streets of its Notting Hill birth place.’ Over two million people have turned up to celebrate diversity and pay respect to the Grenfell victims. We hope to see this fantastic and vibrant event remain an unmoved London tradition.
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