Amid nationwide discussions about racism, the Lakers have hired Karida Brown, an assistant professor of African American Studies and Sociology at UCLA, to be their inaugural director of racial equity and action.

“We are very happy to have Dr. Brown join the team,” said Tim Harris, the Lakers chief operations officer and president of business operations. “She will play a key role in implementing educational programming on race and racism for our employees and helping us focus on racial equity in our day-to-day functions, as well as empowering the organization to identify ways to be more active participants in affecting real change.”

Brown has a Ph.D and master’s degree in sociology from Brown University and a master’s of public administration in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a board member of The Obama Presidency Oral History Project and the Du Boisian Scholar Network.

Brown has authored two books, “Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia,” and “The Sociology of W.E.B. Du Bois: Racialized Modernity and the Global Color Line.” She is working on her third book, “Separate and Unequal,” which examines the history of segregated education systems and its legacy on racial inequality in education today.

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Issues of racism and police brutality have been at the forefront of discussion among NBA players, many of whom have spoken in support of protests that erupted after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed in Minneapolis when a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The Lakers organized a group social media post on May 31 in which every player on the team posted a black square with the words, “If YOU ain’t wit US, WE ain’t wit Y’ALL!”

Danny Green attended protests in downtown Los Angeles and on the west side of the city. Kyle Kuzma sold a T-shirt to raise money for the NAACP legal defense fund.

LeBron James is organizing a voting rights organization that is designed to use the voices of athletes and entertainers to fight voter suppression and support Black voters in their communities.

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Two Lakers players — Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard — also have expressed concerns about the league returning to play before taking action to combat racism.

Bradley and Howard are among a group of players around the league who would like the NBA to support causes that seek justice and equality for Black people, and also commit to hire more Black executives and head coaches.

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