Firings at Fort Hood are an essential step, however advocates nonetheless demand #JusticeForVanessaGuillén

As information of Guillén’s story exploded within the media, a nationwide grassroots motion sprouted up led by Guillén’s household, veterans, and survivors of sexual violence. Their calls for have been clear: They needed Fort Hood closed, and so they needed high-ranking Fort Hood officers charged with prison negligence. Pam Campos-Palma advised Prism that whereas this week’s information from the Military is essential, it’s not justice for the Guilléns and different navy households affected by Fort Hood’s violence. 

As a veteran and senior political strategist for the Working Households Celebration, Campos-Palma has spent years organizing round navy sexual violence and extra not too long ago, she has worked closely with the Guillén family. Within the hours after the Military introduced its unprecedented disciplinary actions in opposition to Fort Hood leaders and troopers, Prism checked in with Campos-Palma to study extra about what this second means for the motion demanding justice for Guillén. Right here is Campos-Palma, in her personal phrases:

I’m having numerous combined emotions. I cried quite a bit yesterday. I really feel happy with the rigorous organizing work that led to this second. That is completely an organizing win. Vanessa Guillén’s disappearance and homicide in April didn’t encourage the form of motion we are actually seeing in December. Survivors and veterans got here collectively to type a nationwide motion, demanding justice for Vanessa Guillén and that’s what bought us right here—the report even mentions public scrutiny and media consideration. (The Fort Hood Impartial Overview Committee’s report discovered “current adverse media consideration precipitated Troopers to query their atmosphere and concern their environment” and that in Could and June, Fort Hood confronted a “public relations disaster.”)

There are numerous headlines this week about Fort Hood and disciplinary motion, so I wish to be very clear about a number of issues. An unbiased civilian assessment of the navy will not be frequent. I’ve lingering questions on how members of the committee have been chosen and the scope of the entry they got, however it’s unparalleled for there to be any form of accountability. In that means, that is precedent-setting. I additionally suppose it’s highly effective for on a regular basis troopers to see folks of rank held accountable. However this isn’t justice. The truth that it’s unparalleled for high navy leaders to pay with their careers and to be charged with prison negligence—that’s the issue.

We don’t know what it means when [the Army says] that 14 senior officers have been fired and suspended. What does “fired” imply right here—and of those 14, who’re they? What are their ranks or time in service? I’m nervous concerning the outdated dangerous established order of junior officer and enlisted scapegoated. Col. Ralph Overland, Vanessa Guillén’s commander, was supposedly fired. Does this imply fired from Fort Hood? Moved to a different navy establishment? Do these “fired leaders” get to retire with their rank pay and and go capitalize on being paid pundits, navy lecturers, or inform all writers ? Will he be charged with prison negligence? This toxicity was not simply allowed, however inspired to fester.

I’ve gotten numerous warmth for saying this, however there’s one thing basically hypocritical concerning the navy being so trusted. The navy is likely one of the most trusted establishments in American society. President-elect Joe Biden just chose a military general for a Cupboard place. Whereas Fort Hood may need shined a light-weight on the navy’s sexual violence and misogyny, these issues aren’t simply Fort Hood issues. Violent misogyny is navy tradition; rape tradition is navy tradition, and this stuff are inherently tied to navy coaching. As an establishment, the navy has traditionally discriminated in opposition to folks of coloration, girls, and LGBTQ folks. Our tax {dollars} go towards all of this. I can’t stand to listen to that now we have the most effective navy on the earth whereas on the identical time, our nation’s leaders watch as our troopers are raped and disappeared on our personal navy bases.

The report confirmed that Fort Hood had sturdy ties to political leaders, which implies members of Congress have recognized about Fort Hood for years. In some ways, the report is only a formal acknowledgment of what so many people have been saying for years, however the massive query is now what are you going to do about it? Are we going to maintain settling for crumbs and permitting senior officers to fail up like Mark Milley, who was the commander at Fort Hood for 2 years and is now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, the highest-ranking navy officer?

Transferring ahead, we’re targeted on what the Division of Protection, the president-elect, and Congress will do. This isn’t over, and it’s not the top for us. I consider in veterans organizing for change and I would like extra veterans to see themselves as organizers, wherever they’re. We can not cease till now we have justice for Vanessa Guillén, and this isn’t justice. Actual justice requires that we comply with the lead of essentially the most harmed. Gloria Guillén, Vanessa’s mother, has been clear that she needs Fort Hood shut down and he or she needs folks charged, not simply fired. Gloria doesn’t communicate English. She is a previously undocumented working-class mom, and he or she took on the Military and impressed a motion. Which means one thing, and we have to honor the Guillén household and proceed this combat.

UPDATE: This text has been up to date to replicate further feedback by Pam Campos-Palma.

Tina Vasquez is a senior reporter for Prism. She covers gender justice, employees’ rights, and immigration. Observe her on Twitter @TheTinaVasquez.

Prism is a BIPOC-led nonprofit information outlet that facilities the folks, locations and points presently underreported by our nationwide media. By way of our unique reporting, evaluation, and commentary, we problem dominant, poisonous narratives perpetuated by the mainstream press and work to construct a full and correct document of what’s occurring in our democracy. Observe us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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