By Louisa Moller

BOSTON (CBS) – With the hum of school kids playing behind her, Dr. S. Atyia Martin explains how her lifelong quest for racial equity started with her family of five kids.

“The way that I learned about racism, what it is, how it works, how it impacts us, really was through trying to figure out how to raise them as healthy Black men and young ladies,” Martin said.

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Martin took her passion and ran with it to positions in the federal government, the Boston Police Department, and as Boston’s first chief resilience officer under Mayor Marty Walsh in 2015.

“We were the first city actually in the world that was part of that network to explicitly say that racism is a challenge that’s impacting every single aspect of resilience from social, to economic, environmental,” she said.

Martin left her position as chief resilience officer in 2018. When George Floyd’s murder sparked protests and calls for sweeping racial justice, she said, she could not help but think we have been here before.

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This time, Martin worries that some people may only be having a surface-level conversation about race, but she refuses to pass up a good opportunity to frame how racism hurts everyone.

“There’s a tendency for people to think equity and think, ‘Oh, I want to help those poor people of color,'” Martin said, “It costs our society billions of dollars. Discrimination, for organizations when you think of turnover.”

Now, Martin, a lifelong Bostonian, is using her company, All Aces Inc., to help businesses and organizations understand and confront racism. She said it is something that every individual can do if they take the time to think critically.

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“It’s my hope that over this last year that people have been awakened to the possibilities. That there’s more hope, that there’s more love, that there’s more intentional actions,” Martin said.

Louisa Moller