I hope you have all been doing well and enjoying the lovely month of February. I recently had the opportunity to go travel across the world and visit new cultures in Singapore and Bali. During my time there I got to visit Hindu and Buddhist temples, mosques, Chinatown, Little India, and other areas that celebrated diversity. It is amazing to witness the beauty of when people of all types can live together in harmony. Unfortunately, I know that is not always a reality.
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the hate crime and murder of Deah, Yusor, and Razan, now remembered as Our Three Winners. This hate crime occurred during my senior year of college at North Carolina State University. I still remember exactly where I was when I found out it had happened. I was on the ground floor of D. H. Hill Library studying for an exam. I was reworking a homework problem, surrounded by my open textbook and binder notes, with an uncapped dry erase marker in my hand. I heard a student at the neighboring table get a phone call, answer in a hushed voice, and start crying when she heard the news on the other end. I still remember her horrified scream. The story was all over the news by the next morning and I was hurting along with the rest of the Wolfpack. I could not believe the hate it took in someone’s heart to kill three young students for being different. It seemed so ironic to be studying with dreams of helping improve the world when it seemed pretty apparent then that math and chemistry alone weren’t going to solve all our problems or differences.
I am no longer the college student studying in the library and dreaming about how to make the world a better place. I now want to focus on my actions, specifically what actions I can take to live out my values and the impact I want to make giving back to others. At 700 Rivers, one of our underlying missions is to help bring the world together to celebrate and appreciate different cultures.
We want to show that we can appreciate what makes us different as long as we understand that deep down, we are all truly the same. No matter our religion, our race, etc, we are all human. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to prevent the tragic hate crime from happening five years ago, but we can do our part to remember them today in earnest, with honor, and with love. We can remember Deah, Yusor, and Razan, not as victims but as Our Three Winners. We can remember them for their service, their ambition, their dreams, and their kindness. We can take this time to remember to love our neighbor and to treat them with the kindness and respect that you would want others to show to you.
This month, a portion of all our sales profits will go towards the Our Three Winners Foundation which was created in their honor with the mission to eliminate hate bias.
The month of February is usually very focused on love for your girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, or partners. But I have something else to ask of you this month. I want to focus on another type of love this February. Love your neighbors. Love your neighbors, and I don’t mean just the people that live next door to you. Love your co-workers, the stranger you sit next to on the bus, the barista that hands you the coffee you just purchased, or the person that is helping bag your groceries. Love one another and let’s appreciate our diversity and how that makes us all special. I think we could all agree that we could use a little more love in this world. Will you join me friends?