Abilene artist painting mural to honor Vanessa Guillen

Beyond Borders

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — After the death of Vanessa Guillen, Dora Rocha and Olivia Vasquez felt the need to demand justice for the Fort Hood solider.

“I would love for it to be not forgotten, and we want justice, justice for Vanessa Guillen,” said Olivia Vasquez.

The two women have had sons serve in the military and come back with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is why they feel so connected to military matters.

“For something that tragic that happened to her on her base, I mean, it leaves me not knowing that our children that joined the service are going to be safe anywhere,” said Dora Rocha.

Rocha says this event is more than uniting military families, it’s also uniting the Hispanic community.

“We need the Hispanic community to recognize one of their own and come together and let’s honor her because she deserves that much,” she says.

Local muralist Dani Benitez wants to commemorate Guillen because she says this has stuck with her since she found out about the incident.

“I honestly didn’t hear about it until late after it had already happened, which is a pretty big deal to me,” said Benitez.

Benitez wants people to remember the soldier and for questions to be answered.

“What’re we going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again? What is that base going to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again? Who is going to take responsibility for what happened?” asked Benitez.

She is hoping that her mural will honor the life of Guillen and allow people to process their emotions.

“It’s OK to feel sadness, I want people to realize that it’s OK for people to feel sadness,” said Benitez.


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