The Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate draws thousands of participants from all over Chicagoland and beyond, and Evanston Township High School stands out as active supporters, participants and volunteers. For the past ten years, ETHS athletic teams – football, basketball, wrestling, soccer – volunteer annually at the Race. On the tenth anniversary of the Race in 2010, ETHS alumni contributed a sponsorship of the Race in honor of the 125th anniversary of the school. And this year, they have a staff team training to run the Race as well.

Chris Livatino, Athletic Director at ETHS and lifetime Evanston resident, values Evanston for the opportunity to live, work and share life with people of different backgrounds and ethnicities. “The Race embodies what people in Evanston support,” he says. “This event resonates and touches the hearts of a lot of Evanstonians.”

Each year draws new volunteers and further “demonstrat[es] how the Evanston community supports one another,” according to girls’ basketball coach, Elliot Whitefield. While the Wildkit Girls’ Basketball team first got involved to support Kelly Byrdsong (Ricky’s daughter), they continue to participate each year, handing out ribbons to children participating in the Youth Mile.

Wrestling coach and strong proponent of diversity, Rudy Salinas, adds that not only is the Race a good cause, its participants represent the cultural diversity he strives for and sees at every one of his practices. This feeling of solidarity moves beyond the high school sports teams and the boundaries of ETHS.

The event honors Ricky Byrdsong’s commitment to the community and it promotes awareness and activism to eliminate racism. In addition, proceeds from the Race, which is underwritten by Allstate Insurance Company as presenting sponsor and by some forty additional businesses, schools, and community groups, support YWCA programming in our communities, especially in the areas of racial justice and violence prevention.

To register for the RACE AGAINST HATE, visit www.ywca.org/raceagainsthate or call the YWCA Evanston/North Shore at (847) 864-8445.