Just one year ago, and amid the worst public health crisis in decades, 20-year-old Pvt. Vanessa Guillén went missing at Fort Hood, Texas. Her remains were found two months later buried by the Leon River, and her killer, Aaron David Robinson, another enlisted soldier, never faced justice.
To remember Vanessa and remind us that gender-based violence in the U.S. remains an endemic problem, “Colombian-Rican” singer-songwriter Karina Daza has brought together 14 female musicians and engineers to create a powerful new bilingual single, “Mujeres Will Riot.”
The single and video will be released this Thursday and coincides with multiple lawsuits by women against ICE centers for assault, and as Vanessa Guillen’s sisters plan marches to fight for the ‘Yo Soy Vanessa Guillen’ law. Commemorating Guillen remains crucial, even at Fort Hood, where a gate and plaque honoring her was unveiled.
The single is an indie-pop ballad featuring a collaboration with Latin Grammy-winning artist Gaby Moreno. Being released on the anniversary of Vanessa Guillen’s murder, the single will remind the world that the fight against women’s brutality and sexual assault in the United States and around the world is far from over.
As Daza’s team explained in a press release, “Mujeres Will Riot” is both a celebration of female strength and a call to action to all Latinas — and all women — to stand up in solidarity. The single is inspired by the story of Vanessa Guillen and the sexual assaults (including unwanted sterilizations) occurring in ICE detention centers that came to light in 2020.
In the track’s music video, directed by Oceanna Colgan, Karina Daza pays tribute to key powerful Latina artists throughout history such as Joan Baez, Frida Kahlo, Celia Cruz, and Rita Moreno. It also includes a sampling of every day women of different races, ethnicities, ages, military status, and sexual orientation, highlighting the facts of sexual violence women still face today.
“I was initially inspired to write it when I heard Vanessa Guillen’s story. Then I learned about the sexual assaults (including unwanted sterilizations) happening in ICE detention centers, and it just became painfully clear that women -and especially Latina women- are being brutalized, beaten, deported, and even killed before they are able to testify against their abusers. This song is a response to all of that,” shared Karina Daza.
“I want to bring more eyes to this fight and remind people that we need to keep demanding change and hold assailants accountable. People love talking about women’s rights during Women’s History Month, but the fight doesn’t end just because the month of March does!” she added.
Conceived as an anthem for the fight against gender-based violence, the song aims to draw attention to this struggle and inspire people to demand change and hold perpetrators accountable. Proceeds from the song will go to Project Sur, which denounces conditions in immigration detention centers, works to close them, and helps immigrant women fight for justice in cases of sexual assault and rape.
Aside from streaming “Mujeres Will Riot” to mark the memory of Guillen’s disappearance, several events tailored to remember Vanessa Guillen will also take place today, such as a candlelight vigil in Houston, Texas. Check out activities in your area to find where you can commemorate her locally.