Notting Hill Carnival Falls Silent For 72 Seconds To Honour Victims Of Grenfell
Notting Hill Carnival kicked off today, August 25, amid scorching temperatures and bank holiday festivities.
However, as an estimated one million people flocked to the west London streets, the festival fell silent for 72 seconds to honour the 72 people who died in the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017.
Grenfell Tower, which is still wrapped in cladding following the fire two years ago, stands within half a mile of the carnival’s parade route. The route was also adorned with hand-painted tributes to Grenfell.
This is the second year the carnival has held a 72-second silence at 3pm for the victims of Grenfell.
As Matthew Phillip, the carnival’s executive director who added the 72-second tribute, told The Guardian: ‘Grenfell Tower is in our community so we feel it’s important to show our support’.
Speaking to The Voice, Phillip explained further:
Following on from the respects paid last year to those lost in Grenfell, we have once again been speaking with representatives from Grenfell United, and we ask that all participants and spectators of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival respect the 72 seconds at 3pm on both Sunday and Monday to honour the 72 people who died.
We are working with our partners to ensure the message of the silence is clear throughout Carnival, but we ask the community and beyond to please spread the message of the silence through their own social media channels using #GrenfellSilence3pm or simply reposting Notting Hill Carnival’s official channels.
As well as remembering the victims of Grenfell, a tragedy which highlighted the social and economic divide felt throughout many parts of Great Britain, Phillip believes Notting Hill Carnival can go some way to uniting people once again.
As he said:
Carnival was brought to us by the Windrush generation. It was that influx of people which created carnival in the first place. It was a chance for the diverse community of Notting Hill to come together and celebrate the fact that we’ve got a lot more in common with people than differences. That’s still relevant today.
The carnival is in its 53rd year, and is the second largest in the world behind Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
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