Skip to content

Georgetown boy delivers ‘brilliant’ call to end racism at Speaker’s Idol

Caleb Lambio places third at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies competition
Caleb Lambio delivers his speech on Speaker's Idol.

Caleb Lambio had a big stage on which to address a big issue.

Having done plenty of research and reflection on racism for school presentations, the Georgetown youth felt well-grounded on the subject when the 15th annual Speaker’s Idol invitation came calling.

“I saw it as an opportunity to get my voice heard,” said Caleb, who according to his mother, Alma, has felt deeply about social injustices for years, having heard of what she described as minor but unmistakable incidents of racism suffered by her Filipino family.

Overcoming some initial nervousness, the local youth spoke with passion and insight on the way to placing third in the Grade 6 to 8 category in the final round of the May 16 Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies competition.

With participants asked to reflect on Wiesenthal’s quote, “I believe in the good in people,” Caleb touched on many of the atrocities committed against the Asian, Black and Jewish communities before transitioning to a call to develop solutions to fight racism and ultimately eliminate it.

“Reflecting on Wiesenthal’s words, we must remember there’s always a good decision waiting for us,” he said during the televised speaking contest. “This world is definitely capable of becoming a racism-free community.”

In an earlier part he compared racism to judging a book by its cover, noting, “You don’t know what happens inside the book until you have fully read it. The same applies to a person.”

Caleb Lambio plays the violin, one of his many passions. Supplied photo

He went on to offer a reminder of American writer and professor Audre Lorde’s famous saying, “It is not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.”

Part of a three-judge panel, litigation lawyer Matthew Gottlieb said Caleb did an amazing job “getting us to think about the solving of the problem rather than dwelling on the problem.”

Fellow judge Dr. Eugene Nshimiyimana, Professor and Chair of the French Department at McMaster University, spoke to the 11-year-old’s love of music, saying, “Throughout this speech you can see the artist in you. You went from the cover of the book to unveil the true humanity beyond the surface. That was brilliant.”

Caleb said the top-three placing at Speaker’s Idol meant a lot to him, but that the important part was “having the privilege to address the top and get my voice heard on this growing human rights issue.

“Every one of us can play an important role in combating racial discrimination.”

Said his proud mother, “He’s so little, but he’s already a change maker.”