Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate
10K RUN | 5K RUN/WALK | YOUTH MILE
7:30am start | Long Field, Evanston, IL
Thank you to everyone who supported the 2023 Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate. Thanks to over 3,700 runners and walkers, 150 volunteers, and 76 sponsors, we were able to raise over $309,000 to support our violence prevention and antiracism work. Learn more here.
Each year, Race Against Hate, one of the largest events of its kind in the nation, brings together thousands of people every year from all over Chicagoland to run and walk in unity against racial hatred and violence.
The 2024 annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate will take place on Sunday, June 16, 2024.
The Race Supports Our Mission
Proceeds from Race Against Hate are used to further the mission of YWCA Evanston/North Shore, in particular our efforts in the areas of racial justice and violence prevention. With this funding, YWCA assists children in our schools and local youth organizations to challenge their own prejudices and foster healthy, violence-free relationships among their peers; supports teenagers in examining their own relationships and practicing constructive ways to handle conflict and differences; and encourages adults to engage in constructive dialogue, interactive activities and meaningful action as related to racial justice.
History of the Race
The Race Against Hate honors the legacy of Ricky Byrdsong, former Northwestern University Basketball Coach, Vice President of Affairs at Aon Corporation, and Skokie resident who was murdered by a white supremacist in 1999 while walking in his neighborhood with two of his young children. On the same day, the shooter wounded six Orthodox Jews in Rogers Park. Over the subsequent weekend, he killed a Korean American graduate student in Indiana and wounded an African American minister in Decatur before taking his own life.
Because of Ricky’s lifelong love of sports and his compelling work with young people in the community, the Race Against Hate was launched by his family and friends in 2000 (and entrusted to YWCA Evanston/North Shore in 2007) to honor Ricky’s legacy and bring attention to the need to combat hatred in all its forms. (Read Sherialyn Byrdsong’s story of the founding of the Race Against Hate.)
View Sherialyn Byrdsong’s message below to the community on the 20th anniversary of the Race Against Hate, and the Walk Against Hate she inspired in her hometown of Atlanta:
Race Against Hate Press Coverage
- Evanston Roundtable: Large turnout, festive atmosphere mark 23rd Race Against Hate
- Evanston Roundtable: Ricky Byrdsong memorial race brings hope and a call for action”, Evanston Roundtable, June 19, 2022
- Better.net: 4,000 Lace Up in Evanston for In-Person Return of YWCA’s Race Against Hate
- Evanston Roundtable: Registration open now for Race Against Hate on June 19
- Chicago Agent Magazine: The 2022 Ricky Byrdsong Race Against Hate, Chicago Agent Magazine
- Evanston Roundtable: Train for the YWCA’s 5K Race Against Hate with the Evanston Running Club
- Evanston Roundtable: Annual Race Against Hate to be ‘Somewhat’ Virtual This Year
- Chicago Tribune: 20 years after Ricky Byrdsong was murdered, the Race Against Hate continues in Evanston: ‘It’s a living demonstration of the power of love over hate’
- FOX32 Chicago: Ricky Byrdsong’s death at the hands of a white supremacist still prevalent 20 years later
- Chicago Tribune: Race Against Hate looks to bring community together: ‘We refuse to be stymied’
- ABC7 Chicago: The Race Against Hate continues in Evanston 20 years after Ricky Byrdsong’s murder