Advocacy through Zaria’s Song
Article about Teresa Wright Johnson
Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Mitochondrial Syndrome, Zaria Yasmine Lassiter, defeated countless odds and developmental delays to become a well-functioning and awesome little lady! “Z”, as she was affectionately known by friends and family, enjoyed dancing, and singing in choirs as well as during music therapy sessions at home. She loved people watching, traveling, and her favorite pastime was enjoying a good meal or her favorite snack: Cheetos and applesauce. Her favorite color was purple and her favorite characters, Elmo and Barney, gave her great joy through books and videos.
Those who were privileged to know Zaria personally knew well her love and affection for people. She enjoyed participating in numerous and varied activities. As the daughter of very socially conscious and active parents, she was a child member of several organizations including Mocha Moms, Inc., FOCUS, The United Mitochondrial Foundation, and Advocares Child Services. As a feature model for children with special needs, she posed for print and cover ads for Easter Seals, HYH Online and Advocares Child Services.
On Thursday, February 11, 2010 Zaria suffered a seizure at school and transitioned at the children’s hospital in Atlanta, GA. Even in death, Zaria continues to lovingly give to others as a Life Link organ donor. In honor of Zaria’s life, her mom, Teresa Wright-Johnson, is teaching and training other parents, professionals and the community about seizure awareness, special need advocacy and much more. She also launched, “Zaria’s Song” (Zariassong.org).
Teresa says, “Having Zaria made me more appreciative of life and those that are in my life. My strength comes from knowing that I asked God for a baby and he gave me Zaria. I also am grateful for having Zaria; she made a positive impact on my life. Her sister, Jade also keeps me on my toes.” Teresa’s message to other parents who are coping with a loss is, “Focus on the time you had together. Be happy you were able to be blessed to parent that child. Think about how that child enlightened or strengthened your life.”
Teresa is a mother, entrepreneur, and a community servant. She has a true passion for motherhood, business, and community. This mom considers herself multi-faceted; with experience and knowledge in various fields. As a parent that had a child born with several disabilities and a mother of premature babies, she was and is very driven to learn as much as possible about early intervention and advocating for all people with special needs. Teresa’s key term is “Life beyond Advocacy!!!”
For more information about Mrs. Teresa Wright-Johnson’s advocacy visit www.zariassong.org