Trenton UrbanPromise is hosting a zoom event this weekend with the author Jessica Curry and her daughter Parker Curry. 

The event will host a reading of the book Parker Looks Up, a story of a young girl looking at the Michelle Obama painting in the National Portrait Gallery. “When Parker Curry came face-to-face with Amy Sherald’s transcendent portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, she didn’t just see the First Lady of the United States. She saw a queen—one with dynamic self-assurance, regality, beauty, and truth who captured this young girl’s imagination. When a nearby museum-goer snapped a photo of a mesmerized Parker, it became an internet sensation,” explains the invite.  

Melissa Mantz, the executive director for UrbanPromise’s Trenton, explained that she had reached out to Curry over direct messages years ago and hoped the event would be in person. Sue to COVID-19, it has moved it to a zoom conference. “I was hoping she could come, and people could meet her, but because of COVID, we just decided to do it virtually, and it will be free as a thank you to everybody who supported us over ten years,” Mantz explained. 

The event will involve a reading of the book followed by some questions and answers with the author. “They’re gonna read, there’s gonna be some questions and answers, and they’ll tell us about how it’s been for them and what they’ve been doing,” Mantz said. 

UrbanPromise Trenton serves the community by providing free after-school programs and summer camps and as well as hires teens to work providing jobs in the community. 

“We support teens by hiring them,” Mantz said. “Then we have a program that goes beyond that, so we help students while they’re in college, we help students get into college and then help them stay in college, and we have a scholarship program that helps cover their funding gaps, so they do not have to get loans.” 

The event is on Sunday, September 12th, from 2 pm-3:30 pm, the organization will hold a raffle for 25 signed copies of the books for anyone that registers in advance. For additional information and to register for the event, go to this link.

“For us at Urban Promise Trenton reading is so imperative… We need to share that message of how important reading is. And it’s also important to share the idea of inclusive reading where the children that we serve in Trenton are included as part of the literature.” Mantz said. “I think it’s going to be fun to meet [Curry and her daughter] and hear their story of all that they’ve gone through just because they happen to go to the National Museum one day and a viral event took place…How those things can either be so negative or positive and how they turned it into such a positive force for conversation and change.”