PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — The YWCA Coalition of Pekin is making strides toward tolerance with the Race against Racism Fun Run on Sunday.

“Ready, set, go,” said the YWCA of Pekin Community Outreach Director, Maureen Naughtin.

“Unfortunately, if we go back in time through the history of this community, it had a reputation for some unpleasant bigotry towards persons who were different, so it’s been imperative to change that reputation,” Naughtin continued.

Naughtin said their mission at YWCA is to help others accept diversity and spread equality. She said events like these will help do just that.

“We look at every month if there is a particular celebration of a culture, and we do programming for that,” said Naughtin.

One mother, Tonya De Groot, ran alongside her 13-year-old son. De Groot said changing the narrative starts with the youth.

“This is just another avenue for us to bring the talk not only with our own individual family members but also to the community,” said De Groot.

Another mom and son duo took on the run as well.

“I’m here to raise awareness for racism and represent my age group… I’m 18 years old,” said Levi Burke.

His mother, Carol Burke, said she brings her son with her to different events in the community to help broaden his perspective of life.

“He comes and helps me volunteer as part of the coalition,” said Carol Burke.

Leaders at YWCA of Pekin said the time for change is now.

“All individuals understand the beauty of diversity,” said Naughtin.

The next event will be held on Juneteenth.