KILLEEN, Texas — Members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus joined family members and supporters of Spc. Vanessa Guillén at a rally Friday in Killeen.
Joining the rally will be State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (HD 51-Austin), State Rep. César Blanco (HD 76-El Paso) and State Rep. Victoria Neave (HD 107-Dallas).
The rally is part of weekly series of rallies demanding justice, an independent congressional investigation and transparency from the Army in the case of Spc. Guillén.
Gloria Guillén, Vanessa's mother, was not at the rally. However, she left a comment on our Facebook live stream of the rally.
"Justice for beloved daughter Vanessa Guillén. I couldn't be there today but my sisters and family will be there. God bless everyone who is supporting this cause. We will not rest until those guilty are turned in."
Rep. Blanco also announced he would file the Vanessa Guillén Act in the Texas House of Representatives. The omnibus bill includes two bills he previously filed to protect victims and witnesses of sexual assault from retaliation for reporting sexual assault, and to "ensure justice is served."
"No soldier should fear retaliation and the negative stigma of reporting assault and harassment in the armed forces," Blanco said in a release announcing the Vanessa Guillén Act. "Although Specialist Guillén was in the United States military, Texas can lead with reforms to protect our soldiers in the Texas military, to ensure every Texas soldier feels safe reporting sexual assaults committed in the military and offenders are prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
The family of Spc. Guillén previously said that she was sexually harassed on post at Fort Hood, but did not report it for fear of retaliation.
The family and their attorney, Natalie Khawam, have since been advocating for a congressional investigation into the soldier's case and legislation protecting victims of sexual assault and harassment. In response, Fort Hood said it was conducting an investigation into the claims made and confirmed that no official report had been made. The results of the post's investigation are not yet known.
A different bill at the federal level, the #IAmVanessaGuillén bill, will address protections for victims and is expected to be introduced July 30 in Washington, D.C.
Additionally, the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee will hold an initial hearing July 29, focusing on the alleged sexual harassment Guillén experienced before being killed on post, among other harassment and assault reporting issues in the Army.
More on the case of Spc. Vanessa Guillén
- Army leaders discuss Vanessa Guillén case, sexual harassment and assault on Facebook town hall
- Vanessa Guillén, Fort Hood to be focus of U.S. House committee hearing
- Eighty seven members of Congress want the DOD to investigate Guillen's case, but local reps aren't on the list.
- Congresswomen call for justice for Vanessa Guillen, end to sexual assault and harassment in U.S. military