YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s 18th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate, held June 18 in Evanston, drew almost 5,000 participants and nearly 300 volunteers.

Karen Singer, President and CEO of YWCA Evanston/North Shore, said this demonstrates how much people want to get involved to end hatred and violence.
“For 18 years people have come together, uniting on Father’s Day, to send a powerful message that we will not tolerate racism or hatred in our communities,” said Ms. Singer. “We are so grateful for all who participate year after year and stand up for what is right.”

The Race Against Hate honors the legacy of Ricky Byrdsong, former Northwestern University men’s basketball coach, who was murdered in 1999 by a white supremacist. Proceeds from the event go directly toward YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s work to prevent violence and promote racial justice.

At the race, both Ms. Singer and Sherialyn Byrdsong, widow of Ricky Byrdsong, asked participants to remember the meaning behind the race, and the ongoing importance of supporting anti-violence efforts.

“I fear that hatred and gun violence are happening too often,” said Ms. Byrdsong, noting the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, the week before the race. “But this [Race Against Hate] is always a highlight of my year because I see people turning out to make a difference.”