Our Three Winners
Young and driven by a love for humanity.
Deah, Yusor, and Razan were three inspiring and altruistic individuals who lived for something beyond themselves. Their drive to help those in need transformed the lives of many of the citizens of Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina.
Beautiful Lives Cut Short
On February 10, 2015, Deah Barakat, his wife of six weeks Yusor Abu-Salha, and her younger sister Razan Abu-Salha, were tragically shot and killed, execution style, in their Chapel Hill, North Carolina home by their neighbor. Their loss was devastating not only to their local community, but to the nation, as three young American Muslims were killed in an Islamophobic hate crime, targeted because of their faith.
Deah Barakat was 23 years old. He was a second-year student in the School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina. Deah loved his family and described them as “the greatest parents a kid can ask for.” In his spare time, Deah volunteered to provide services to the homeless community, providing free dental supplies and food. On December 27, 2014, Deah married Yusor Abu-Salha, and she planned to begin dental studies at UNC in the fall. At the time of the tragedy, Deah was fundraising for a dental mission to provide services to victims of the Syrian Refugee Crisis. The campaign went on to raise thousands of dollars and has since funded two summer missions to provide medical relief for refugees. Through the generosity of donors in support of the foundation established in their name, the legacy of Our Three Winners continues.
Yusor Abu-Salha was 21 years old. She married Deah Barakat on December 27, 2014. Friends described them as a “beautiful couple.” In May 2013, Yusor’s brother posted a series of videos on Vine of the families celebrating the couple’s engagement. He described the couple as “lovebirds.” Razan studied human biology at the North Carolina State University and planned to begin her dental studies alongside her husband Deah at the UNC School of Dentistry in the fall.
Razan Abu-Salha was 19 years old. Razan was a student at North Carolina State University. She studied architecture and environmental design and used her creativity to design material for the nonprofits she volunteered with. She also planned to travel to Turkey on the medical mission along with her sister Yusor and brother-in-law Deah. Her architecture professor describes, “In her eyes, I remember the most, just the kindness in her eyes.”
Legacy lives on through the Our Three Winners Foundation
Deah and Yusor’s dental missions, Razan’s feeding the homeless initiatives, educational programs and more will live on through the Our Three Winners Foundation. The mission is to build on the work of Our Three Winners and continue the legacy of philanthropy in a sustainable way. Proceeds from the endowment will fund humanitarian programs that inspired Our Three Winners including dental services, educational opportunities for people in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, and feeding the homeless, as well as other social services.