Tribute in the Wake of Tragedy

Last week, a terrible tragedy took place in Chapel Hill that shook not only the surrounding community but also the entire country and many parts of the world. Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were shot and killed inside their home own home on Tuesday.

That night, #ChapelHillShooting trended worldwide on Twitter, and stories that displayed the victims’ kindness and devotion to serving others spread across all forms of social media.

23-year-old Barakat, by all accounts, was an avid basketball fan whose favorite player was Warriors guard and N.C.-native Stephen Curry. In fact, Barakat was such a fan of Curry’s that before his wedding in December, he posed for a picture bouncing a basketball and wearing a bowtie, similar to a photo Curry posed for in a shoot with GQ earlier this year.

Barakat has also been pictured wearing Curry’s No. 30 while playing basketball at N.C. State, and on his personal Twitter account, he described himself as an “Aspiring Splash Brother.”

Curry received word of Barakat’s death and offered his condolences on Twitter:

Many of Barakat’s tweets were about Curry, which Curry said he learned of through social media.

“Even though we never met, I think it will hopefully mean a lot to his family and friends that knew what kind of a basketball fan he was to have some kind of peace knowing that people are thinking about him and they’re not alone,” Curry said.

“Anytime you have a guy that was that supportive and takes it to a whole another level, I’m going to do something tonight.”

Curry was speaking of a tribute he was planning during All-Star Weekend to honor the life of Barakat as well as his wife and sister-in-law. He planned to wear shoes on which he had written #CurryForDeah and #RIPDeah.

To me, this is a perfect example of the benefits of Twitter and other social forms of social media. There are obviously going to be those people who bemoan it, claiming that it devalues human connections, diminishes social skills, whatever. But when it’s used in the right way, it can be a fantastic means of spreading awareness and offering touching tributes like the one Stephen Curry offered on Saturday night.

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