A month ago, I was planning to post about gender equality and the rise of young girls empowering themselves, but now that seems vastly inappropriate and unnecessary. Late on Tuesday, February 11th, I learned that three friends and classmates had been shoot and murdered. In a few days I learned they were killed in their home execution style by a neighbor who had previously made threats and hateful comments about Muslims. This hit me like a ton of bricks.
I have had a fairly difficult year. I left my full-time job, I had serious health issues, my fiance’s immigration case being mishandled and is continuing for a second year when it was supposed a 5-9 month process– but it is the deaths of friends that I remember most. Over the summer several friends died in car crashes in Egypt. While working at an Islamic Conference in May, I learned Tayyibah Taylor (the first publisher to ever believe in me) was struggling to fight her cancer, by September I was contributing to her tribute. Then a fellow writer (who first encouraged me to contribute to Sisters’ Magazine) Maria Zain died while giving birth to her 6th child. Then I got the news about Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammed Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha. All the emotions I had held in since May came flooding in. Suddenly all the hardships I had gone through over the year seemed like nothing. Three very wonderful people being senselessly gunned down, no matter the reason is so shocking and upsetting. I was overwhelmed with emotions.
I quickly contacted my friends and their family members in NC. I was able to put together a tribute for them.
Which is was tagged by The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Atlantic. It was always republished by Huffington Post.
I was blessed to have known these amazing people and I was share how I knew them and why this terrible event matters to Florida based news stations/papers such as the follow:
I was also honored to speak at the Orlando Vigil for Our Three Winners
As I said in the video how I felt and what I did is not unique, everyone who knew them was deeply effect by their tragic and sudden deaths. It is not our grieving that is necessarily so important, though it is, what we need to focus on right now is sharing their stores; we must never forget them and all they stood for.
Here are some ways we can do that:
- Collect and donate dental supplies
- Money to the Syria Dental Relief
- Funds the #OurThreeWinners Trust
- Tax-deductible donation to the Deah, Yusor, Razan Scholarship Endowment Fund: Islamic Scholarship Fund
- Alternatively donate to the North Carolina State University Our Three Winners Scholarship Fund
- Support the donation to the memorial bricks to be laid at Athens Drive High School (outside the Wake County Public Library Entrance), Yusor and Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha’s high school.
- Collect and donate canned goods/pantry items to #FeedTheirLegacy and like this Facebook Page
- Volunteer and support United Muslim Relief
- Follow the Our Three Winners Facebook Page
- Purchase and wear a t-shirt or wrist band, all funds support Deah’s Syria Dental Relief Project
- Send a Salaam card by ArtofFelicity a portion of the funds supports the Triangle Chapter of United Muslim Relief
- Buy a version of Al-Wadud The One Who Loves, by SHOPNadiaJ (aka Nadia Janjau) all funds support the Deah’s Syria Dental Releif Project