by Sherialyn Byrdsong (Remarks made at Race Against Hate, June 18, 2017)
Posted June 23, 2017
Good morning. Thank you for beginning your Father's Day with the 18th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate.
As you all know, my husband was gunned down a couple of miles from here in Skokie by a white supremacist while he was jogging with our two youngest children. Today, 18 years later, such horrific acts of hate are intensifying and occurring too frequently. They constantly remind us of the relevance of this race. The week before the race in 2015 it was the Emanuel AME Church nine. The week before the race of last year it was 49 people killed in the Orlando night club and earlier this week, if not for the heroic acts of two capitol police officers, there would have been a massacre of some of our congressman. I fear that this culture of hatred and gun violence is our new America. I fear that this has become our new normal. Instead of families enjoying the American dream, too many families are experiencing the American nightmare.
I believe that each of us has a civic and faith based responsibility to lead our communities in a different direction. Every morning when we wake up, each one of us should ask ourselves, "What can I do today to make the world around me a more kinder, respectful, peaceful, understanding and loving place? What's my responsibility in this race against hate?" Our nation is crying out for answers.
I appreciate so much people like Karen Singer, Eileen Heineman and the entire staff of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore who every day do their part. Their work is making a difference in this community and they are relentless and true to their mission to eliminate racism. Your support of this race helps to make that happen. So please join me in giving the YWCA Evanston/North Shore and yourselves a round of applause for doing your part to make our communities a better, safer and more loving place to live.
That you so much. God bless you and God bless America. I look forward to seeing you next year!