HOUSTON – One year to the day Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen was killed, about 100 people gathered at a mural in southeast Houston to remember her.
“Like everyone in Houston, we made her part of our family. It was a tragedy,” vigil attendee Raquel Ojeda said. “We’re just pretty much here so the family knows that we are still with them. As long as they keep fighting, I mean, we will all keep fighting with them.”
By candlelight, through song and prayer, they all showed up to support Guillen’s family and keep her memory alive.
“It’s an amazing feeling here, especially it being a year. People haven’t forgotten our dear friend,” Guillen’s friend Luis Montes said. “Every other soldier that is sexually assaulted and goes through the pain and not able to speak up, we want to be their voice.”
Guillen’s family joined the vigil by phone to thank supporters. The family is in Washington D.C. where another vigil was held.
”It motivates us to keep pushing, to keep fighting because we know other people haven’t given up on us and we’re not going to give up on Vanessa,” said Tania Moreno, another friend of Guillen.
Even though a year has passed, Guillen’s family and friends are still seeking justice and calling for change on how sexual harassment and assault reports are investigated by the military.
“She can’t speak for herself anymore. The least we can do for her is create change, positive change. So, thank you. I want to thank everyone,” Guillen’s sister Lupe said.