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Southeast Houston community prepares to say final farewell to Vanessa Guillen

Guillen's public memorial service will be held Friday at Chavez High School.

HOUSTON — It’s fitting that the southeast Houston community is where loved ones will say their final goodbye to Vanessa Guillen.

It's the same community she forged so many relationships in while she was alive.

“Actually, we met here at Chavez High School," said Ashley Macias, who said she'll never forget her first impression of Guillen at soccer tryouts. “She had passed me up and I was jogging a little slowly, so she went, she patted me on the back, she just said, 'Hey, you got it.'"

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It’s that positive attitude she hopes will inspire the community at Friday’s public memorial.

“Please understand this is an unprecedented event where we expect hundreds, if not thousands of people to show up," said Cesar Espinosa, FIEL Houston.

He's helping the Guillen family organize the event.

“We ask people to be extra patient, we are going to be following social distancing guidelines and we ask everybody to please wear a mask," Espinosa said.

The services begin at noon with visitation in Chavez High School’s auditorium. Around 5:30 p.m., there will be a rosary and the Guillen family is expected to speak.

Her former classmate said it's just the beginning of the next chapter in Guillen's story.

“After the memorial, we will continue to put in our efforts like we have been from the very beginning to seek the justice that is needed for her," Macias said.

Saturday’s Mass and burial will be closed to the public. Guillen's casket will be carried in the same carriage as George Floyd.