As the NBA figures out how to start back up the current 2019-2020 season, the Los Angeles Lakers have announced their moves to further fight for social change.
After recently releasing a statement on topics, including racism, bigotry, and violence, to name a few, the Lakers have announced new ideas and proposals to promote social change.
Following Thursday’s hiring of Karida Brown, who is now the team’s director of racial equity and action, the team announced that staff members would get to take Friday, June 19, off in observance of Juneteenth.
“We are very happy to have Dr. Brown join the team,” Tim Harris, Lakers chief operating officer and the president of business operations, said in an official statement. “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’s role at the Lakers is to educate “Lakers employees about the issues facing black and brown people in the United States and facilitating the team’s outreach efforts to combat systemic racism,” the outlet reports.
Brown’s resumé proves her to be more than qualified as she’s not only an oral historian but also an assistant professor of African American students and sociology at UCLA. She’s also previously 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,” and has even served on the boards for the Obama Presidency Oral History Project and the Du Boisian Scholar Network.
While Brown will mainly be working with the Lakers’ 150 team employees, and not directly with the players, coaches, etc. her goal is to be a “resource to everybody within the Lakers family.”
Furthermore, the organization is also planning “several charitable outreach efforts.”
As a part of their way to push for positive social change, the Lakers have donated iPads to four organizations, which include: 4wrd Progress, Watts Skills Academy, Create Academy and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro L.A.
Continuing their fight for change, the Lakers organization will also sponsor a five-part virtual series hosted by Game Changer, which is an organization that aids the process of open dialogue in at-risk youth communities and law enforcement agents.
The Lakers have also released reading materials, covering subjects of racial inequality for example, to their staff, and have also given their employees a chance to learn from at a screening of the film “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” which goes into detail about the U.S. congressman and civil rights leader.
The NBA. requires all 30 teams in the league to have a leader on its staff and when it comes to diversity and inclusion. While each role differs by the title, it is that person’s responsibility to serve “as the liaison between the team and the league’s diversity and inclusion office.”
“Sports was the social influencer before we had social influencers,” Brown said in a video-conference. “Sports organizations are a source of entertainment, inspiration, aspiration, identity. So all of these kind of intangible ephemera that make us who we are, sports is one way that we express that. … So [for] that platform to take a stance, to take action, to demonstrate what it looks like in everyday life has the potential to have great impact in influencing others, even if it’s just making folks think, ‘Am I a non-racist? Or am I an anti-racist?’ That’s a very important question. And our stance in making a firm commitment about that perhaps will invite others to also ask themselves that question. That is a great starting point.”