Craig Hicks may have ended the lives of three young Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but he did not silence their legacy. His name has already been forgotten, but the names of the three people he killed: Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Abu-Salha live on. The three Muslim students murdered in Chapel Hill were honored by My Deah’s Goodwill Store reported ABC 11 on Nov. 11. The store in Raleigh will serve as a tribute to “Our Three Winners” as their Facebook memorial is called. But it is also a way further their work, through the My Project USA program.
Because the killer didn’t just shoot three students–that would have been horrific enough. Everyone has a right to live, regardless of how good he is or how worthy his life may be deemed. But this killer picked three especially good, generous and kind people in Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha. And their charity will be remembered by a thrift store in their memory: My Deah’s Goodwill Store. Now having a thrift store named after you might not seem like the highest honor. Why not an upscale venue in Chapel Hill? Because My Deah’s Goodwill Store is exactly what the three Muslim students were all about: ministering to the needs of the poor and refugee populations.
Deah Barakat and teh Abu-Salha sisters were known as helpers. At the time of his death, Deah Barakat, a University of North Carolina dental student, was planning a trip to Turkey to bring dental care to refugees. The Chapel Hill murders in February were shocking, but they also made many Americans reconsider how hard it is for Muslim youth in America. This inspired Zerqa Abid to begin My Project USA. This Ohio-based nonprofit works to improve the lives of American Muslim youth. Abid says My Project USA is an outreach that aims to insure that every Muslim in America becomes a loyal, productive American citizen.
My Deah’s Goodwill Store was born out of a collaborative between My Project USA and a wish of Namee Barakat (father of Deah Barakat and father-in-law of Yusor Abu-Salha). Barakat wanted to start a store to serve the needs of the North Carolina refugee population. Here’s how it works: the public donates items to My Deah’s Goodwill Store (just as they do any Goodwill store). The store sells to those in need, a large number of which are refugees. The profits fund My Project USA which provides programs to “protect, nurture and empower Muslim youth.” The website lists unique struggles Muslims face, such as young girls being forced into sex-slave work, in the U.S. So Chapel Hill mourns it’s fallen students not just with tears but proactively with a community give-back. Eternal rest grant unto to Deah, Razan and Yusor, and may their lights shine on.
And in return…