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April 26, 2018

unnamedA 12-year-old, white Canadian boy is inspired to write about Martin Luther King.

He wins two dollars too.

Perhaps it’s odd just how much this white, Canadian,12-year-old boy was profoundly moved by Dr. Martin Luther King.

Or not so odd, given his home life.

Dr. King was barely mentioned in this all white, rustic, start-up, private school in downtown Toronto.

My admiration of him was ignited by Walter Cronkite’s must watch, supper hour news broadcasts that often led with coverage black riots, white resistance and freedom movements.

My fascination increased exponentially when these young ears, yearning for peace himself, heard the “I have a dream” speech.

I was enthralled then, and remain so to this day.

Dr. King’s assassination coincided with a writing contest at my school.

I overcame persistent shyness and a chronic lack of confidence to enter: my own wobbly steps toward freedom from limitations, external and internal.

My story was inspired by the school and the shifting neighbourhood it was in.  It was slowly transforming from decay and poverty to gentrification. For some time, co-existence of the new and old was uneasy, even often violent. No riots to be sure, but often tense, though most remained ignorant of their climate, thankfully.

Until one day…

At assembly one Monday, we were told some kids from my school lost their blazers after a fight with neighbourhood black kids. The whites taunted the blacks. The neighbourhood won, and payback included some black children wearing the school’s blazers as the fight’s prize.


It was an epiphany, one of many I had in my early years.

Something within me was angry at the assault, the arrogance, the injustice, the disrespect of one to another. The “have mores” taunting the “have less” pissed me off.

This incident served as a foundation for my writing entry.

Perhaps it was one way I could have some control over my inability to manage the near constant rage and violence at home. The battles were endless. We were poor. Mine was a have less family, despite the chance opportunity to attend this school.


I won the writing contest. The editor of the student newspaper sponsoring the contest, Terry Collins, who years later became one of Canada’s top cartoonists and journalists, and a successful, senior, United Nations diplomat involved in climate change, gave me my $2.00 prize money.

(Terry actually forgot about the contest until I reminded him weeks after the deadline for submissions. I should have guessed then about its popularity).

I asked Terry how many entered the contest.

“You were the only one,” he said.

The halo effect of fame and glory was short lived, perhaps a few seconds, but the $2.00 afforded a chocolate sundae, my chosen addiction of the times.

It seems that was my first impulse to put a stake in the ground to advocate on behalf of our collective magnificence, to do unto others as you would have others do unto you, to do no injury.

And, as Bono wrote, “Love is bigger than anything in its way.”

To this day I continue to learn how to embody all that myself.

School for self-awareness of these universal principles- these realities-I know, is never out.

So, thank you, Dr. King.

Your light illumines me still.

Note: Please accept my apologies for the grammar and awkward, dated writing. I guess I invented the improper term “racialism” ignorant of the proper noun.

However, the lack of paragraphing was a yearbook editor’s choice, not mine, and if I knew who he was I would complain loudly!


Peter Bromley

The wise leader

Reality School at Clearlight Evolution

#lifelessons #love #wisdom #tbt #instagram #motivation #inspiration #inequality #compassion #empathy #injustice #racism @RSGC1 #leadership #peaceofmind #peace







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