Theresa Velasquez flew to Miami from Los Angeles on a Wednesday night to visit her parents. The music industry executive couldn’t wait to be in her hometown and see her family, friends said. A few hours after their meeting, tragedy has struck.
Theresa, 36, along with her parents, Julio Cesar Velasquez, 67, and Angela Maria Velasquez, 60, have been identified as victims of the Champlain South Towers collapse. They were all identified on July 8.
The married couple had lived in Unit 304 for nearly a decade, their son and Theresa’s brother David Velasquez told The Washington post. Before that, they lived in Plantation.
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Theresa Velasquez began her music career as a Miami Beach DJ
Theresa first built her career locally, rising through the ranks of the music industry from her DJ job in Miami Beach to her most recent role as an executive with music and entertainment company Live Nation.
“Theresa was a passionate leader at Live Nation, who elevated all the projects she was a part of, while breaking down barriers for women and the LGBTQIA + community,” the company said in a statement. “We will always remember and honor the impact she had, and she will be sorely missed.”
A LGBTQ artist herself, she has been praised for her work in making the music industry more inclusive, being named as one of the Billboard’s 40 LGBTQ Executives Shaping the Industry Last year.
“Velasquez has helped nurture relationships with brands such as Samsung and Hulu, while also finding new ways to improve the fan experience through technology,” Billboard wrote at the time.
In an interview with the outlet, Theresa said she would always go back to her roots, DJ’ing Pride’s Sets of the Month. On the Surfside Wall of Hope – the chain-link memorial with photos of victims and flowers – hung a photo of a young Theresa DJ under red and purple lights with a set of bongos beside her.
Parents came to the United States from Colombia as teenagers
Julio was retired and Angela was well known in the city for her men’s clothing store, Fiorelli, which has been open in downtown Weston for about 20 years. The couple arrived in the United States from Colombia as a teenager, according to a family friend.
Weston Mayor Margaret Brown told The Sun Sentinel that Fiorelli was one of the first stores to open in the city center at the time. The Weston community gathered for a candlelight vigil in honor of the family in early July.
When news of the family’s passing spread online, tributes poured in from all walks of life – from the musicians Theresa worked with, to Julio’s neighbors and Angela’s clients. The common thread was love for family members.
“You were a big part of the music, Miami, NY, LA and the LGBTQ community,” Grammy-winning DJ Tracy Young wrote on social media. “Although we don’t know each other very well, I feel like I lost a sister and I don’t understand why you were taken so young, with your whole life in front of you. I enjoyed watching another one. female DJ take over from the DJ and music community. I just wish I could tell you… you were on fire! “
In an interview with the Sun SentinelAngela’s longtime customer Charles Nyarko, 58, said the store owner was “always smiling”.
“Julio and Angela are just the cutest couple in the world,” a former neighbor told Miami Herald. “I have nothing but good things to say about them.”
Even acquaintances who once described themselves as strangers spoke of the warmth the family immediately exuded.
“(They) made us feel like part of this beautiful family,” one said on David’s Facebook wall. “I wish the world could have more time around your parents and Theresa.”
Supporters also attempted to donate to the surviving family, including David, through a GoFundMe account verified. But he says the family have no plans to use most of the money – that’s what his parents would like, he said.
“My sister (was) molded like me, based on how my parents behaved and how they taught us, and that was to treat people with kindness,” he told the Sun-Sentinel.
On the GoFundMe page, David said his family would use the $ 55,000 and more raised to help family members in Colombia travel to pay their respects when needed, but added that any remaining money would be “donated” to victims of similar tragedies. , like Beirut.
“What I need most of all of you is what I get in spades: love and prayers,” he said.
On Saturday morning, a memorial mass for the Velasquezes was held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Miami Beach. During the mass, which was broadcast live to his friends and family, David Velasquez spoke of dealing with such an unimaginable loss by celebrating the deep love and joy his parents and sister brought him, as well as his ‘to so many others.
“I want to thank everyone again for your thoughts, prayers, love and help sent across all mediums including those holding it back because you rightly assume I’m overwhelmed,” David wrote in an article on Facebook. “Despite the great pain I feel, I realize how lucky I am to have so much support.”