At the National Portrait Gallery, the inspiration is free

“Representation matters,” Jessica Curry writes in today’s New York Times.

She should know. This is her daughter, Parker, who is at the center of an instantly iconic photograph at the National Portrait Gallery.

Last week, her daughter and the former first lady got a chance to meet, play dress up, and dance to the young girl’s favorite song.

“I have cried tears of joy in recent days as this has all happened particularly when thinking about Parker’s grandparents, who grew up in a segregated America and never imagined that they would see a black president and first lady or that their granddaughter would one day dance with the former first lady,” Parker’s mother writes in the Times.

The photo of Parker embodies Mrs. Obama’s words. It shows a little girl looking up and seeing a dynamic woman who, coincidentally, is brown just like her. Maybe color, gender and race will be insignificant when Parker is an adult — we’ll just all be individuals. This dream lives on and seems closer to realization in every generation. Regardless of whether you marvel at or dislike the Obamas, it’s hard to deny that they changed the fabric of American history, and thanks to them, children like my daughter can dream bigger than they ever imagined.

She noted, too, there’s plenty of value in keeping museums free and open to the public.