Before we let the tragic details surrounding her disappearance and death detract from who she was, let us celebrate and remember that she was a 20-year-old beautiful and brave Latina who was serving her country proudly. Vanessa enlisted in the United States Army in 2018 to fulfill her dream of becoming a soldier and protecting our country. Vanessa’s sister, Lupe Guillen told NPR that her
sister wanted to be in the military since she was a little girl. “She used to tell my mom how she wanted to be a soldier because she wanted to protect and serve the nation,” Guillen said. “She wanted to be a fighter. She wanted to be a hero. She wanted to be someone in life. … The military failed her.”
Vanessa was a daughter, Vanessa was a sister, a niece, a granddaughter, a cousin, a friend, a fiancé. Vanessa was Somebody’s Somebody.
Sadly, Vanessa was also the victim of sexual harassment. Vanessa’s sisters have said she was afraid of reporting her sexual harassment because she was nervous about retribution.
Vanessa was the victim of a brutal and senseless murder on April 22, 2020 at the Fort Hood military base. Her dismembered remains were located on June 30. Her story did not make headlines until her remains were discovered.
Vanessa was another victim of the media’s white supremacy actions, hidden standards and racial grammar. Her story is another story of a brown woman who fell victim to Missing White Woman Syndrome. It took months for Vanessa’s tragic story to make headlines in the media.
Her family is still seeking answers for their unanswered questions about what happened to Vanessa. They continue to pursue justice for all the trauma Vanessa experienced in a place where she should have felt safe, a place that should have protected her – in the country she had dreamed of protecting, of fighting for, since she was a little girl.
#FindVanessaGuillen, #IamVanessaGuillen, #WeAreVanessaGuillen #JusticeForVanessaGuillen
Photo sources: top, bottom || Lupe Guillen quote source