The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday October 19th

The shooting was three years ago. Here's how their families turned tragedy into progress.

(From left) Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha lost their lives Feb. 10, 2015. (Courtesy of the Abu-Salha family)
Buy Photos (From left) Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha lost their lives Feb. 10, 2015. (Courtesy of the Abu-Salha family)

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger declared Feb. 10 Our Three Winners Day to honor the lives of the three students who were killed in 2015. 

“For the city of Chapel Hill and Mayor Hemminger to acknowledge the importance of the service that Deah, Yusor and Razan did in their lives, and how important it is to continue carrying that forth, shows that the tragedy of them and their work is not just something that’s carried out within the Muslim community, it’s the community at large,” Nida Allam, a close friend of YusorAbu-Salha, said. 

Chapel Hill police charged Craig Stephen Hicks with shooting and killing Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha on Feb. 10, 2015. Since the students' deaths, their families and friends have founded the Our Three Winners Foundation to continue the legacies of Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha. 

Barakat studied at the UNC School of Dentistry and his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, had also been recently been admitted. Yusor Abu-Salha’s sister, Razan Abu-Salha, studied architecture at North Carolina State University’s School of Design. Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha also dedicated much of their lives to community service within the Triangle.

The Our Three Winners Foundation created an endowment fund to continue Project Refugee Smiles, a yearly dental relief mission founded by Barakat to provide dental services to refugees abroad.

The Islamic Scholarship Fund created the Deah-Yusor-Razan Scholarship Fund to honor students who exhibit dedication to personal excellence, social service and strengthening Muslim representation in the media and in politics. 

Allam said the Our Three Winners endowment fund has given over $100,000 in scholarships and grants. 

Barakat’s brother, Farris Barakat, said the declaration of Our Three Winners Day solidified the legacies of Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha and Barakat.

“Feb. 10 is just around the corner, so we’re starting up all the anniversary stuff — the third anniversary at that,” Farris Barakat said. “There’s still a long way to go with this town.”

Farris Barakat, who founded the Light House Project in honor of the students, also said Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha will continue to influence UNC and the city of Chapel Hill.

“My brother’s and Yusor’s white coats still hang at the Dentistry School,” Farris Barakat said. 


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