YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s 19th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate, held June 17, drew nearly 5,000 runners and walkers and 300 volunteers.
Karen Singer, president and CEO of YWCA Evanston/North Shore, said these numbers reflect how many people care about ending racism and violence.
“For 19 years, the Race Against Hate has brought thousands together to demonstrate that we are united in our commitment to end racism, hate and intolerance throughout all of our communities,” said Ms. Singer at the event. “The presence of so many people sends a powerful message.”
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, a record $346,000 in gross proceeds, support YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s work to prevent violence and promote racial justice.
Ricky Byrdsong’s widow, Sherialyn, also expressed gratitude to race participants.
“Nineteen years ago, we had no idea that with every passing year this race would become increasingly relevant, and that hate in all of its evil forms would be commonplace,” she said. “Your participation sends a message to the nation that love trumps hate every time.”
This year’s race also included on-site voter registration, and Ms. Singer encouraged attendees to deepen their involvement by voting.
Although the Race Against Hate drew thousands from Chicago, Evanston, and other North Shore communities, it also included participants from across Illinois and the United States.
To learn more about the Race Against Hate and YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s violence prevention and racial justice work, go to ywca.org/evanston.