AUSTIN, Texas - Sunday, July 12, 2020, Austin declared “Justice for Vanessa Guillen Day.”
Several memorials were held for the murdered Fort Hood soldier. Two caravans took place, eventually merging. One, left from Pflugerville, the other South Austin. The caravans met on I-35 and drove to the “Eastside march for Vanessa Guillen” together. The march started at Metz Park and ended at Chicano Park in East Austin.
“This is all that we’ve been praying for. Without you guys, without the power in your voice we can’t keep moving forward,” said Guillen’s cousin, Uriel Guillen Aranda, addressing the crowd at Chicano Park. Aranda said his family was “starting to become hopeless,” but seeing the crowd Sunday “really means a lot.”
According to the FBI, 20-year-old Guillen was bludgeoned to death in an arms room on post on April 22, by fellow soldier Spc. Aaron Robinson. Robinson committed suicide when authorities confronted him. His girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar who helped Robinson dismember and bury Guillen has a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
“Vanessa is here in spirit,” Aranda said Sunday night. Guillen’s family has been pushing for transparency in the case. This week, they hit three milestones. Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy announced he would ask the Inspector General of the Department of Defense to conduct an independent investigation into Guillen’s case.
“We don’t need Fort Hood to be investigating themselves,” said Aranda.
Mccarthy says he is also naming a panel that will look into the culture and climate at Fort Hood. President Trump also spoke about the case for the first time.
“We’re here and we’re not going away. This is a great injustice to the community it’s a great injustice to the community and our government and our country should be better than disrespecting our soldiers in this manner.” said caravan organizer, Jess R.