Our Three Winners

Rafeef Ziadah is a Palestinian poet and human rights activist living in London. Her poem, “We Teach Life, Sir,” is powerful and poignant reminder of the human condition in conflict. 

On this bonus episode of Stories with a Heartbeat, host Will McInerney reflects on some of the stories from our past episodes covering the Chapel Hill Shooting in season 1. Rafeef's beautiful and moving poetry is emblematic of the legacy and the lasting message of life that Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha, and Razan Abu Salha left behind. Listen to Rafeef's poem with the link below. 

Photo: Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha
Our Three Winners

On February 10th, 2015, Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha were shot and killed execution-style in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Their neighbor, Craig Hicks, was quickly arrested and charged with the crime. But what happened that night? Why? And what does it mean for us now?

Yusor Abu-Salha, Deah Barakat and Razan-Abu-Salha were murdered on Feb, 10th, 2015.
Yasmine Inaya, Deah Barakat, Nida Allam / Facebook

One of Yusor Abu-Salha’s favorite foods was butter chicken, an Indian dish. She was a movie buff and ‘Saturday Night Live’ was her go-to show.

Her friends describe her as someone with a solid sense of humor – she had an affinity for pulling pranks and sending colorful Snapchats.

“She had a lot of swag,” her friend, Morjan Rahhal, remembers. 

Jorge Valencia

Last month, volunteers from North Carolina and across the country gave free dental treatment to refugees near Turkey’s border with Syria. The trip had been organized by Deah Barakat, one of the three young Muslim Americans killed in Chapel Hill February of this year. After Deah and Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha were fatally shot, Project Refugee Smiles received more than half a million dollars in donations. The group of volunteers treated more than 700 people.

Dr. Sarah Arif of Cleveland and Farris Barakat help a boy at the temporary Syrian American Medical Society dental clinic at the Al-Salaam School in Reyhanli.
Alena Advic

Months before his neighbor barged into his Chapel Hill apartment and fatally shot him, his wife and his sister-in-law, Deah Barakat had decided he wanted to help people escaping the war in Syria.

Deah, a 23-year-old student at the University Of North Carolina School Of Dentistry, had seen and heard about the escalating violence ravaging parts of his parents’ native country, so he called a dentist who was running clinics for displaced Syrians, and he told him: he wanted to take Americans to the Middle East and treat refugees.