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Rep. Sylvia Garcia takes Vanessa Guillén’s tragedy to heart, pushes for justice

Latinx leaders from Texas speak out in solidarity with Vanessa Guillén’s family, pushing legislation for it to never happen again.

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On July 5, investigators positively identified the remains of Vanessa Guillén, over two months after she vanished from Fort Hood in Texas.

But it seems justice remains a long way off.

Largely due to the months-long delay in the search for truth, the main suspect tied to Guillén’s disappearance, Spc. Aaron Robinson, escaped prosecution through suicide, depriving Guillén’s family of the fullest extent of justice. 

Robinson’s girlfriend, a civilian, was charged with tampering with evidence, and court records show she aided in disposing of Guillén’s body.

An arrest has been made, and Guillén’s family now has the confirmation of her death, but they still lack all the answers. 

It took 71 days for authorities to locate her remains, after her family’s push for an investigation into her disappearance, and after Guillén’s accusations of sexual harassment against her commanding officers came to light.

The Guillén family has also called for changes to how the military handles sexual assault reports, as most investigations are conducted internally. Guillén’s murder is a peek into the U.S. military’s sexual abuse culture, and to continue to ignore it would be a disservice to her legacy.

Among the many currently advocating for increased visibility in the case of Vanessa Guillen is Rep. Sylvia Garcia (TX-29). 

Shortly after the confirmation that the remains belonged to Vanessa, Garcia issued a statement on Twitter., 

“My prayers are with the Guillen family We won’t stop until we ensure they get #JusticeForVanessa,” she wrote.

“ Vanessa was a 20-year-old Latina soldier with a bright future ahead of her. Sadly that bright future was cut short while serving our country. I will continue to work with the family until they get justice for Vanessa and we guarantee this never happens again to another soldier.”

Garcia even made an image of Guillén as her banner on her social media platforms.

She is not the only Latinx politician calling for justice. 

Julián Castro and Rep. Joaquin Castro are also calling for both an independent and congressional investigation in the Vanessa Guillén’s murder. 

“We need answers and justice for Vanessa Guillén,” Joaquin Castro tweeted. “My heart continues to be with her family and survivors of sexual harassment during this traumatic time.” 

Afterwards, Castro said he is monitoring the situation with Rep. Sylvia Garcia and the Hispanic Caucus members to uncover the truth.

“Vanessa Guillén and her family were failed. I thank all my colleagues who have reached out about this case and who are ready to help. Together we must ensure the Guillén Family gets #Justice for Vanessa and that this never happens again,” tweeted Garcia on the support.
 

In the months after Guillén’s disappearance, thousands have come forward about sexual harassment and assault in the military. 

Latinx politicians like Garcia and members of the Hispanic Caucus hope this demand for justice will prompt real change to better shape the future of women in the armed forces.

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