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When Curtis Carmichael was a boy, he looked for a book about someone who broke the cycle of poverty. He couldn't find one. This was the motivation behind his critically-acclaimed memoir and giving back to his community — an inspiring story he shares with Tony Chapman.

Curtis Carmichael lost ten people in his life by the time he turned 11 and was surrounded by uncertainty and violence in the streets. Now, he’s dedicated his life to advocating for Black and racialized youth in low-income communities in Toronto and across Canada.

A revolutionary, futurist, author, teacher and activist from the streets of Scarborough, Ontario, Carmichael shares how his parents’ love helped him make a drastic change in his life and his community.

Following an African mindset from Ubuntu, sometimes paraphrased as, “I am, because we are,” Carmichael shares his view that success is making life better for others. His memoir Butterflies in the Trenches is what he calls a blueprint to prepare kids for the future and break the cycle of poverty.

In this episode of Chatter That Matters, Carmichael chats with Chapman about his influences, his motivations, and entrepreneurship within communities.

He shares his views on ways to combat the ‘school to prison pipeline’ he sees for Black, Indigenous and low-income youth.

Tony Chapman created the Chatter That Matters podcast to counter the storm of negativity and impossibility with true stories of ordinary people who do extraordinary things. He chats with Olympians, Advocates, Celebrities, Leaders, and people who battled what seemed like insurmountable odds.

In doing, listeners hear life lessons that inspire all of us to do more and to be more, to help us get to where we need, want and deserve to go. RBC is the presenting sponsor

To listen to this show, go to, download Chatter That Matters at I Heart Radio (or wherever you get your podcasts), or tune in Fridays at noon to these radio stations:

  • Newstalk 1010, Toronto
  • CFRA 580 Ottawa
  • CJAD 800 Montreal
  • CJBK 1290 London
  • Newstalk 610 St. Catharine’s
  • CKLW 800 Windsor
  • CKFR 1150 Kelowna
  • CFAX 1070 AM Victoria
  • Or Fridays at 8 p.m. on BNN Bloomberg CFTE 1410 Vancouver