Prayer circles on deck: Preparing for life after First Lady Michelle Obama

When she leaves the office, we’ll lose the only first lady to hold two Ivy League degrees. Her coming of age story is a true example of the American Dream.

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

It’s the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

First Lady Michelle Obama approaches the podium with both elegance and confidence. It’s been eight long years since she first took the stage in support of her husband, President Barack Obama. She pans the crowd, smiling, waving and genuinely connecting with people, many who never thought they’d see a day like this.

And then the FLOTUS utters one of the most powerful things we’ve ever heard from someone of this status

“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” she said. “And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”

Millions of eyes light up around the country as they glare at the television screen, wondering if their ears are playing tricks on them. Did a black woman in the White House mention the words slavery? Many black folks in America are in collective agreement that this may have been the “blackest” thing we’ve ever heard from a First Lady, or perhaps even a president.

This is America in 2016. A black president and a black First Lady in the White House, but they’ll be gone before we know it.

*Why I’ll Miss First Lady Michelle Obama Most of All

When the FLOTUS leaves the office, we’ll lose the only First Lady to hold two Ivy League degrees. We’ll lose a woman who, in 2015, co-launched the Let Girls Learn initiative; helping girls around the world go to and stay in school. We’ll lose a woman who’s always fought on behalf of black people; her dissertation titled “Princeton-Educated Black and the Black Community” proves this. She even left a $212,000 salary to become First Lady.

There’s now less than three months before the 45th President of the United States will be sworn into office. And if things pan out the way they appear, we might make history again. But I can’t be the only person who’s not-so-secretly wanting four more years of the Obamas.

*Michelle Obama Owned the Democratic National Convention: Here’s How She Did It

Since 2008, we’ve witnessed history in more ways than one. Politics aside, there’s something extremely powerful about waking up everyday to a black POTUS and FLOTUS. Regardless of what others may say about media representation, I believe that symbolism truly matters. It matters because when you see something, something you’ve never seen before, it becomes that much more tangible for you to become it.

In fact, a new report from Nielsen shows that 62 percent of African-American millennials agree that seeing celebrities in the media who share their ethnic backgrounds “feels good.” That’s what Michelle Obama has done for not only black women, or Black America, but for the country as a whole.

*Michelle Obama’s Birthday Message for Barack is So Darn Adorable

Despite every negative headline one’s ever read about the Southside of Chicago — a community that is consistently portrayed as hopeless — Michelle Obama’s coming of age story is a true example of the American Dream.

Nestled somewhere in the South Shore neighborhood is a little girl growing up on Euclid Avenue in the 1970s. Her father, a city water plant worker, suffers from multiple scleroses. Her mother is a full-time homemaker until she enters high school. A young Michelle LaVaughn Robinson simply wants to stay out of trouble and make her parents proud. She works so hard that both she and her brother would go on to skip second grade. So hard that an opportunity to attend what was then Chicago’s only magnet school, Whitney Young, yields a three-hour round-trip commute to school everyday. She would go on to graduate second in her class.

Not bad for a young girl who grew up in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment, sharing the living room with her brother, separated by a divider.

In her May 2016 commencement speech at Tuskegee University, Mrs. Obama reminds us that she hasn’t forgotten where she’s come from. “Here’s the thing — our history provides us with a better story, a better blueprint for how we can win. It teaches us that when we pull ourselves out of those lowest emotional depths, and we channel our frustrations into studying and organizing and banding together — then we can build ourselves and our communities up. We can take on those deep-rooted problems, and together – together – we can overcome anything that stands in our way.” Her actions provide a blueprint for those without guidance.

Despite everything that’s ever stood in FLOTUS’ way, she is standing right where she’s supposed to be — here. Even when so many others around the country made it very clear that they didn’t want her. After all, black women are leading the US in education, outpacing black males, earning 65 percent of Bachelor’s degrees, 70 percent of Master’s, 64 percent of Doctorate’s.

When I see Michelle Obama approach the podium, I see a young black girl or boy on the South and West of Chicago, St. Louis, DC, Atlanta or New York. A young black kid, who fears for their life, consistently reminded by the media that their lives aren’t valuable. She provides faith when there is none. Food when there are no meals, and a chance at graduating for a freshman that still reads at a third-grade reading level.

It’s no coincidence that Michelle Obama ties Eleanor Roosevelt for tallest First Lady in history. Because when she speaks, she stands as tall as she is gracious and inspiring. I see her in ways I’ve never seen any other First Lady before her. I see hope. I see resilience.

I see, if even just a little, progress for black America.