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Not everyone encounters life-changing moments like Lesra Martin has. But even fewer seize those moments and turn them into opportunities that can alter the course of their lives — and the lives of others. In this episode, Martin shares how hope, perseverance and self-belief can change everything.

“What does Lesra Martin, a kid from a New York City ghetto, have to do with three Canadians? And what do they all have to do with getting Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter freed in 1985? In a true-life fairy tale, we learn three powerful life lessons that prove that almost anything is possible if you picture it. Bring tissues and a great pair of shoes for the standing ovation Lesra Martin has earned.” — Tony Chapman.

Chapman’s guest this week is Lesra Martin, who is best known for his involvement in the release of former boxer Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter, who was falsely accused of murder in 1966.

In this episode, Martin shares how as a young boy living in poverty, he took on work to support his family, which involved navigating through the gang-run streets of a New York City ghetto at the age of 10 years old. He describes the job he got through an inner-city youth program, which put him in the path of a group of Canadian entrepreneurs — and how his courage and potential compelled them to take him under their wing, bring him to Toronto and help with his education.

Functionally illiterate until the age of 16, Martin learned to read in part through studying Rubin Carter’s autobiography The Sixteenth Round, a book that changed his life and ultimately led to justice and freedom for the falsely accused Carter.

Filled with lessons of hope, perseverance, hard work and self-belief, Martin’s story tells how a boy from the ghetto could accomplish monumental feats. As he tells Chapman: “With hope, you can achieve anything.”

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