Evanston/North Shore

Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate

Sunday, June 17, 2018




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 19th 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, 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 Basketball Coach, Vice President of Affairs at Aon Corporation, and Skokie resident who was murdered by a white supremacist in 1999 while walking in his neighborhood with two of his young children. On the same day, the shooter wounded six Orthodox Jews in Rogers Park. Over the subsequent weekend, he killed a Korean American graduate student in Indiana and wounded an African American minister in Decatur before taking his own life.

Because of Ricky's lifelong love of sports and his compelling work with young people in the community, the Race Against Hate was launched by his family and friends in 2000 (and entrusted to the YWCA Evanston/North Shore in 2007) to honor Ricky's legacy and bring attention to the need to combat hatred in all its forms.

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

Please join us for the 19th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate!


Are you interested in sponsoring the 2018 Race? Contact Race Director Trimmy Stamell

In addition to participating in the Race, what else can you do to support racial justice and equity?  Identify one thing, besides participating in this Race Against Hate, that you can do, to prevent hate crimes and to make our nation a safer place for ALL Americans to live." Here are four things to consider:    

  1. Participate in one of YWCA Evanston/North Shore Racial Justice Programs
  2. Learn more on your own: You can find links to suggestions of articles, books and films here: Racial Justice resources
  3. Attend a community event: access a calendar of racial justice related events here
  4. Like our Facebook page to get timely updates on our work and what you can do to make a difference.

What does the Race Against Hate look like from the front? We mounted some cameras on the lead bikes in 2015, put them together with some beautiful photos from Evanston Photographic Studios.

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.


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