HOUSTON- As investigations into the death of Vanessa Guillen continue, a Houston teenager who lives not far from where Vanessa grew up on the city’s southeast side has used her artistic talent to keep Vanessa’s memory alive and to show support to the Guillen family.
“I sat here with her at night and I mean just looking at the young lady’s eyes, you can just see it. It’s like it’s her,” said Juanita Valdez.
Juanita’s daughter Samantha, a recent graduate of Milby High School, painted the mural to honor the life of Vanessa Guillen.
“When I first heard her story it was like, ‘Oh my God, that is disturbing,” Once other artists were coming up and painting her it was like ‘Oh yeah, this is something I can do’,” said Samantha.
After getting permission from the owner of the building, Samantha went straight to work, painting for hours at a time to complete the mural of Vanessa, a girl not much older than her that grew up nearby.
“It could have been me or one of my sisters. If I lost one of my sisters, I wouldn’t know what to do,” said Samantha.
Samantha says she hopes the painting brings comfort to the community and helps push for justice.
“I want people just like my family to come and show that they are fighting right beside the Guillen family. We want answers for her and her family,” explained Samatha.
Juanita “A lot of people have stopped, a lot of people have told her that her work is beautiful and basically since we do live in a Latin area and stuff…it does something to me to see the Latin culture get together,” said Juanita.
If you would like to stop by the mural, it is located at 7732 Canal Street, Houston, TX 77012.