YWCA Evanston/North Shore

Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate

Time lapse video of the Race courtesy of Evanston Photographic Studios.

The 16th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate is a beautiful memory!

        A note from Sherialyn Byrdsong:


Over 5,500 participants joined us on Sunday, June 21. Thank you for your enthusiasm and your support!  Results can be found here: http://www.mychicagoathlete.com/resources/

Proceeds from the Race will benefit the work of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, especially in areas of violence prevention and racial equity.

In the words of one participant

Lyle Foster, one of Ricky’s friends, described his experience at last year's race: “For all those days that the promise of the Martin Luther King Jr. "Dream" seems to be in reverse, this was a day that filled me with hope.

"I was encouraged by witnessing the incredible number of children, babies in strollers and seniors on walking sticks who ran and walked to stand against hate. Truth be told, I saw folks from every imaginable background and age group participating.

As I walked and did the old man's shuffle…I realized that a lot of people do believe in the opportunity for all and the dignity of every human.” (Read the entire essay here.)

The Race is about so much more than running. Thanks to all our participants, sponsors, supporters and volunteers for believing that racing against hate is indeed worth the sweat and that when we come together to race against hate and racism we all win.

About the Race

On Father's Day each June, the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial 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, we have a place for you! Now entering it's 16th year, the Race features music, on-field refreshments and fun for the whole family. Add to that technical t-shirts, great give-away bags, awards, a fast, flat, and scenic race course along Lake Michigan and a great cause, and you have a positive community event you won't want to miss!

The Race Against Hate honors the legacy of Ricky Byrdsong, former Northwestern University Men's Basketball Coach who, while walking with his two young children in 1999 was murdered by a white supremacist. Because of Ricky's lifelong love of sports and compelling work with young people in the community, the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate was launched by his widow, family and friends to bring attention to the need to combat hatred in all of its forms.

Proceeds from the Race Against Hate are used to further the mission of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, in particular our efforts in the areas of racial justice and violence prevention. With this funding, the 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.


Learn more, get safe, get involved, empower yourself.