Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate

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Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate


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:

Sherialyn Byrdsong on the 2020 Race Against Hate
2020 Walk Against Hate in Atlanta
Panel discussion with Sherialyn Byrdsong
Why race?
Race Against Hate, 23 years running

Race Against Hate Press Coverage

Thanks for racing with us!
One of Ricky’s favorite quotes, that he patterned his life after, and tried to instill in his family, friends and players was, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it." This Race Against Hate is our 90%. We have responded to Ricky’s death in a way that would make him proud.
Sherialyn Byrdsong