As co-founder of the Mississippi Hispanic Association (MHA), Mrs. Velásquez served as the first MHA president and a Board Member for five years (1995-2000). Mrs. Velásquez currently serves as Chair of the Board and as fund-raiser for the “Run to the Latin Beat” 5K 2016.
Mrs. Velásquez is from Colombia, South America, where she attained a Bachelor’s degree in Languages, emphasis in Spanish, and taught Spanish for many years before she moved to Mississippi in 1982. She has an Associate’s degree from Hinds Community College (HCC) in Programming and Data Processing; a Master’s degree from Jackson State University (JSU) in Education, emphasis in Spanish; and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree at JSU in Early Childhood Education, emphasis in reading. Mrs. Velásquez taught at HCC from 1987 to 1993 as an adjunct instructor. In 1987, she became the first director of the Foreign Language Center at JSU. Since 1993, Mrs. Velásquez has been a Spanish instructor at JSU.
Mrs. Velásquez is married, has three daughters and four granddaughters. She draws from her experience and the knowledge she has gained as an immigrant to contribute to the well-being of the Hispanic community in Mississippi. Mrs. Velásquez strongly argues that “education is the most effective tool by which to climb the social, economic, and political ladder, especially for us immigrants.” On October 23, 2005, Mrs. Velásquez was presented with the “Woman of the Year” award by the Minority and Small Business Development Division for her dedication to the community.