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Joint Statement on Catastrophic Bronx Fire

Landlord and City of New York responsible for Bronx fire that killed 17 African immigrants, injured and displaced dozens

January, 12th 2022- We extend our deepest sympathies to residents of the horrific Bronx fire that resulted in loss of life, injuries and displacement of families. Many of the victims and survivors are migrants from the Gambia as well as other West African and Caribbean communities. These families, including children, will be facing untold trauma for a long time. We are saddened by the tragic loss of life and sympathize with the difficult recovery facing dozens of injured people. 

As families grapple with how to move forward in the coming days and weeks, we urge impacted immigrants to reach out for the support and resources that they need. New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Senator Chuck Schumer have publicly promised that survivors will receive support regardless of their immigration status. We will hold them to this promise. 

Working class people around the world continue to face hazardous living situations. Black people, including Black immigrants, face racism, xenophobia and class discrimination, exacerbating already precarious living conditions as was the case with the Grenfell Tower flats in London,  the recent house fire in Philadelphia, among others. These tragedies reflect issues of systemic failures that oppress and disenfranchise Black communities, such as lack of proper maintenance and lack of fire safety, which are the responsibility of property owners. City governments are responsible for not holding accountable landlords with storied histories of tenant exploitation and failed building inspections. 

The residents of Twin Parks deserved better. For years, residents have made official complaints about no heat in their units, faulty radiators, and broken ventilation systems. The responsibility for this disastrous fire lies with the landlord, Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC, and the city of New York. 

Everyone deserves permanent protections such as safe housing and a housing authority accountable to the community.

Joint statement by African Communities Together, Black Alliance for Just Immigration and the UndocuBlack Network.