Erica Tatum-Sheade’s heart broke when she saw Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” music video for the first time as a kid.
She watched as images of homelessness, starvation, civil rights protests, and homegrown terror splashed across the screen, while the King of Pop cooed, “I want to make a change.”
When the video debuted in 1988, Erica was just a little girl, and she didn’t have a complete understanding of the issues playing out in front of her. But she knew that she, too, wanted to make a change. She wanted to help.
Although Erica didn’t know it at the time, such work was in her blood—her mother was a social worker and attorney and, after a medical discharge from the military, her father got a degree in social work before he retired. They lived a comfortable middle-class life, but one driven by humanitarian purpose.