Jaci Velasquez is a Christian and Latin Pop singer from Nashville, Tennessee. Jaci Velasquez became an autism mother in the Spring of 2013, when her 5 year old son Zealand was diagnosed with autism by the Nashville Public Schools, when he started kindergarten. After the ASD diagnosis, Jaci became a spokesperson for autism advocacy and has used her singing talents in fundraising for the autism community. Jaci Velasquez is an Autism Light for how she is an autism advocate in honor of her son Zealand.
Jaci Velasquez was born on October 15, 1979, in Houston, Texas. Jaci is of Mexican, Spanish, French, Scottish, and Arab ancestry (Jaci Velasquez, Wikipedia).
Music Career: Jaci Velasquez has been inspring others through her singing for 20 years and, "she has three Platinum albums, three Gold albums, 16 number one singles, six top 10 singles, and seven Dove Awards (Christian Post, October 17, 2013)." For the latest information on Jaci Velasquez and opportunities to hear her music visit her website at www.jacivelasquez.com.
In this video Jaci Velasquez shares about her son Zealand and how God has spoken to her through being a parent.
There was also a news story done in Spanish where Jaci Velasquez reveals her son Zealand has autism.
Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Jaci Velasquez was named the 2013 spokesperson for the Tennessee Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Her related duties included speaking about her connection to autism and the Autism Speaks organization, performing music at their events in Tennessee, and participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony on October 5, 2013. Jaci Velasquez said about this autism advocacy role, "I am honored and humbled to take on the responsibilities of being the spokesperson of 2013. Although the emotions that I am feeling are unfamiliar and uncharted, I find comfort and unwavering support through my faith, family, and both old and new friends alike (Christian Post, October 17, 2013)."
On My Knees: Here is a clip of Jaci Velasquez as she sings one of her #1 hit songs in a live concert. The song On My Knees was released in 1996 on her debut album Heavenly Place and became the title of her "Best of" Album ten years later in 2006. Though the song was born over a decade before she became an autism mother, it's message offers hope for Christians in the autism community. When Jaci Velasquez sang this song an Autism Speaks event in 2013, she whispered before singing it, "This year I've actually found a new reason to be on my knees (Power Source Music)."
The Gift of Zealand: Jaci Velasquez has said this about her autistic son Zealand, "What Zealand has taught me, and continues to teach me each day is that societal labels don't mean a thing. I see and hear 'genius' when I read and hear 'autistic.' Being diagnosed with autism is to be presented with an original gift. My mission is to harvest the gifts that Zealand has been given, and not overlook them. I don't want to overlook these gifts in an effort to try and 'fix' whatever might seem out of place I WILL NOT overlook Zealand's gift, and I want to encourage everyone else too.. DO NOT MISS THE GIFT! (Power Source Music)."
The following video is of Jaci Velasquez singing a duet in 2013 with Michael W. Smith at a Symphony of Life concert. The featured song is Michael W. Smith's classic, Friends.