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 Guillén’s household, veterans, and survivors of sexual violence. Their calls for have been clear: They wished Fort Hood closed, they usually wished high-ranking Fort Hood officers charged with felony negligence. Pam Campos-Palma advised Prism that whereas this week’s information from the Military is essential, it isn’t justice for the Guilléns and different army households affected Fort Hood’s violence. 

As a veteran and senior political strategist for the Working Households Get together, Campos-Palma has spent years organizing round army sexual violence and extra just lately, she has labored intently with the Guillén household. 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 be taught 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 blended emotions. I cried lots 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 at the moment are seeing in December. Survivors and veterans got here collectively to kind 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 Assessment Committee’s report discovered “latest damaging media consideration induced Troopers to query their atmosphere and concern their environment” and that in Might 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 couple of issues. An impartial civilian evaluate of the army isn’t 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 unprecedented for there to be any form of accountability. In that approach, that is precedent-setting. I additionally assume it’s highly effective for on a regular basis troopers to see individuals of rank held accountable. However this isn’t justice. The truth that it’s unprecedented for prime army leaders to pay with their careers and to be charged with felony 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 apprehensive in regards to the previous dangerous establishment 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 army establishment? Do these “fired leaders” get to retire with their rank pay and and go capitalize on being paid pundits, army teachers, or inform all writers ? Will he be charged with felony negligence? This toxicity was not simply allowed, however inspired to fester.

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

The report confirmed that Fort Hood had sturdy ties to political leaders, which implies members of Congress have identified 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 army 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 tip for us. I imagine in veterans organizing for change and I need extra veterans to see themselves as organizers, wherever they’re. We can not cease till we have now justice for Vanessa Guillén, and this isn’t justice. Actual justice requires that we comply with the lead of probably the most harmed. Gloria Guillén, Vanessa’s mother, has been clear that she desires Fort Hood shut down and he or she desires individuals charged, not simply fired. Gloria doesn’t converse 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 battle.

UPDATE: This text has been up to date to mirror further feedback 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 individuals, locations and points presently underreported our nationwide media. By our unique reporting, evaluation, and commentary, we problem dominant, poisonous narratives perpetuated the mainstream press and work to construct a full and correct file of what’s taking place in our democracy. Observe us on Twitter, Fb, and Instagram.

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