Deah Barakat, was 23 years old, a recent newlywed, and a lover of basketball. He was a second-year student in the School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina and an alumnus of NC State University, graduating magna cum laude with a B.S. in Business Administration. An honor student, Deah excelled in his academics and held leadership roles both at NCSU and UNC.
Deah was a humanitarian, volunteering in his spare time to provide food and free dental supplies to his local homeless and underserved communities. In previous summers, he volunteered to deliver dental care to refugees abroad and, at the time of the hate crime tragedy that claimed his life, was fundraising for the Project Refugee Smiles Dental Relief Mission. He and his fellow UNC classmates had planned to travel abroad for a summer mission to distribute dental supplies and provide dental care to refugees, many fleeing war-torn Syria. His fundraising campaign went on to raise thousands of dollars and has since funded annual dental missions to provide care for refugees and annual scholarships to support students who demonstrate similar values of personal excellence and social service.
Yusor's name, which means “ease,” comes from a verse in the Holy Quran: “With every hardship comes ease.” She brought ease and joy to her family and friends throughout her entire life. A high achiever, Yusor blossomed, becoming invested in her community both socially and philanthropically. She had a passion for helping others, whether through leading the service chapter of NC State University’s Muslim Student Association, organizing an annual health fair for the underserved in her hometown of Raleigh, or traveling abroad to provide care and share the stories of refugees displaced by war.
Yusor married Deah, a boy she met in elementary school, in December of 2014 - one day after her 21st birthday. That same month, she learned she was accepted to the University of North Carolina’s School of Dentistry and would be joining her husband in the coming fall. Along with her husband Deah and sister Razan, Yusor was planning to travel abroad in the summer of 2015 to provide dental and humanitarian care to the refugees fleeing war. She would never take that trip as her life was tragically cut short, only six weeks after her wedding day, but her compassion and empathy will live on through Project Refugee Smiles and other programs inspired by her legacy.
Razan was a 19-year-old student of Architecture at North Carolina State University’s School of Design. Since a young age, Razan utilized her talent and creativity to benefit others. She painted and sold portraits of peace, donating thousands of dollars in proceeds to provide medical and humanitarian aid for children in the Middle East. Razan also used her creative talents to organize and promote a bi-weekly community service project in Downtown Raleigh to feed and spend time with the homeless, an endeavor that lives on today.
Razan was Editor-in-Chief of the Athens Oracle, her high school newspaper. She was an avid reader, a fitted cap collector, a photographer, and a long-distance runner. After the tragic hate crime that claimed her life, her brother Yousef Abu-Salha and her best friends began running for charity and completed the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon on her behalf. She is the inspiration behind the annual "Run for Razan 5K," a race created in her honor. Razan is remembered by her loved ones as fun, kind, gentle, and wise beyond her years.