5 years later, how do we honor Our Three Winners?

Image result for our three winners

Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha and Deah Barakat

On this day, many in our community are still struggling to reconcile exactly what happened five years ago and more importantly, what the murders of three young Muslims means for each and every one of us.

For a few, this is a daily struggle. We simply don’t have the answers. The loss of these three bright, talented individuals is felt throughout our community, the world but most notably in their homes and amongst their closest friends.

We refuse to allow their legacies and their humanity to be erased by the larger forces at play: anti-Muslim bigotry, systemic racism and xenophobia. We commit ourselves, today and everyday to continuing in this struggle for justice for all people. We ask ourselves, what can we do to honor the legacies of Our Three Winners, beyond words and sentiments.

Support the Light House Project and their programming

The Light House Project is a physical home that belonged to Deah Barakat. His brother, Farris Barakat, has made it his life’s work to honoring his brother’s life through service to the community and youth. The Light House Project sponsors events for Muslim American youth, works in the Tarboro Rd community through organizations like NC Justice Served and they create space for people that want to do good.

Farris can’t do it alone. The annual fundraiser for the Light House is on March 8. If you can’t attend in person, become a monthly sustainer for the Light House or volunteer in person. Muslim Women For and other groups in the Triangle rely on The Light House.

Educate yourself on implicit bias

As Suzanne Barakat reflects on how she and her family reclaimed control of their narrative, Barakat calls on us to speak up when we witness hateful bigotry and express our allyship with those who face discrimination.

Support the work of the Our Three Winners Foundation

The foundation funds two major projects- the Deah, Yusor and Razan clinic, which lead teams of dental professionals to Turkey for three consecutive years from 2015-2017, continuing the dental trip that Deah’s untimely death prevented him from attending.

The other project is the Social Inclusion Policy Fellowship, a two week fully paid fellowship program that engages current and future policymakers and raises awareness about harmful stereotypes and narratives of minority groups.

Donate to the NC State Our Three Winners fund

This fund will award scholarships in the three students’ names through the Poole College of Managementthe College of Sciences and the College of Design, in perpetuity to honor the three colleges that Deah, Yusor and Razan belonged to. NC State will seed the endowment with initial funds and additional contributions can be made online.

Support local artists and value their work

Razan Abu Salha was the youngest victim and she was an exceptionally talented Architecture student in the College of Design. She used her talents to raise funds and support relief organizations like Triangle Muslim Aid. We imagine that honoring her would include honoring the artists and designers in our lives.

That means paying them fairly for their work, supporting their events and exhibitions, visiting galleries and donating to causes that allow folks to express their creativity.

Be part of your community

If nothing else, these three were deeply committed to their community. If you are struggling today, know you are not alone. We have to put ourselves and our talents out there if we wish to feel the warmth of community. We have the opportunity to change the future. Let today be the day you reach out to someone, join a group, run for office or volunteer your time.

Ask for help

If our community has learned anything it is that people are willing to help. We show up for each other. Period. If you are struggling, there are mental health resources available to you across North Carolina. Muslim specific mental health helpline Naseeha is a great resource for young adults and the Khalil Center can connect to you counselling. Additionally, the Islamic Association of Raleigh provides counselling for a variety of personal, family, behavioral, and mental wellness needs.

Let us know how you will honor the legacy of these three souls in the comment section below. We pray that Allah will heal the pain of anyone struggling with the loss of these three and that our time on this earth is blessed with the opportunity to do good. We are with you.

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