Now in its 21st year, the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate was launched to honor the legacy of Ricky Byrdsong and to bring attention to the need to combat hatred in all its forms. Comprised of chip-timed 5K and 10K runs, a 5K walk and a fun youth mile, the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate also features on-field refreshments, music and fun for the whole family. Add to that technical t-shirts in women's and unisex cuts, give-away bags, awards, a fast, flat, and scenic race course.
The Race Against Hate brings together thousands of people from all over Chicagoland to run and walk in unity against racial hatred and violence. Whether you’re a casual walker or a competitive runner, there’s a place for you!
"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
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.
Proceeds from the 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. Your support:
- helps children in our schools and local youth organizations to challenge their own prejudices and foster healthy, violence-free relationships among their peers;
- provides teenagers with the skills they need to examine their own relationships and practice constructive ways to handle conflict and differences; and
- encourages adults to engage in constructive dialogue, interactive activities and meaningful action to advance racial justice.