Lesra Martin was once an inner city kid dismissed by society, yet his heart carried hope and courage. He effected profound change in the lives of many, including his own. “Young Lazarus,” Coretta Scott King once noted, “will win your heart.”
Lesra Martin’s heartrending story has mesmerized and inspired millions through the major Hollywood feature “The Hurricane”.Its’ star, Denzel Washington, marvelled over Lesra’s real life odyssey from a poorly educated Brooklyn teen to a respected prosecutor with university degrees. “What a journey!” Washington told Reuters.
Inspired by his experiences, The National Film Board produced the documentary “The Journey of Lesra Martin”, and the compelling film has been screened at film festivals throughout Canada as well as the Hollywood Black Film Festival, Black Film Festival (San Francisco), The Urban Literary Film Festival (Greensboro, U.S.) and the 24th International Durban Film Festival, (Durban, South Africa).
He was invited to speak before the General Assembly delegates at the United Nations, where he gave an impassioned speech about the devastating effects of literacy and poverty, and at Cambridge University, where he spoke before world leaders. He has been featured on countless television and radio shows, most notably as a special guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. Dozens of newspaper and magazines articles from The New York Timesand The Washington Post to Sports Illustrated and Reader’s Digest Magazine have chronicled aspects of Lesra’s life.
Lesra spreads his message of hope to thousands, appearing before corporate groups, community organizations, schools and universities. He has appeared as a keynote speaker for a wide variety of companies and organizations, including IBM, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard and the International Subway Corporation. He has delivered his heart felt message to Piney Woods School (Mississippi), Atlanta International School, Boston College, Baylor University and Dartmouth, as well appearing before the Mel Goldberg Symposium on Justice (Minnesota), Council of Exceptional Children (Child Development Institute, Early Literacy), and the YMCA (Ohio) among many others.
Of his eight siblings, Lesra is the only one with a high school diploma. He completed high school as an Ontario scholar in 1983 and received an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1988. He achieved his law degree from Dalhousie Law School in 1997, served as a Crown Prosecutor in Kamloops, British Columbia, and now practices law with a private firm in British Columbia.
He has received the YMCA Black Achievers Partner in Excellence Award (Ohio) and numerous awards and certificates of recognition have been bestowed on him for his willingness to be a role model and mentor for youth. He was acknowledged with a lifetime membership with the National Black Caucus of Special Educators, a division of the CEC (Washington, D.C.).