CiNI believe that children and young people living in Northern Ireland should be considered as peacemakers and peace builders and must be empowered and encouraged to participate both in dialogue and in the shaping of peace building initiatives.
The Day of Reflection could act as a catalyst in creating opportunities for children and young people to discuss the conflict in and about Northern Ireland in a safe environment while also acting as an inclusive and positive event that emphasises a commitment to a peaceful new society.
What is the Day of Reflection?
The Day of Reflection on 21 June each year is an initiative promoted by Healing Through Remembering. It provides a voluntary opportunity for everyone in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and further afield to reflect on the conflict and the future.
It is offered as a day to acknowledge the deep hurt and pain caused by the conflict, to reflect on our own attitudes, on what more we might have done or might still do, and to make a personal commitment that such loss should never be allowed to happen again.
Why 21 June?
The date was chosen following thorough research into possible dates for such a day. This highlighted that there is no single date in the calendar year which is not the anniversary of the death of at least one person in relation to the conflict.
It was felt that 21 June, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, was a symbolically important day. The hours of light and dark could be seen as a symbol of the hope and pain in our society. It is a day which represents a pause in the cycle of nature, a moment to reflect.
Furthermore, the day's significance is related to a naturally occurring event and nature makes no distinction between races, creeds or political perspectives.
Below are a number of ideas for preparing for or observing the Day of Reflection for youth based groups and schools:
Teachers and youth workers can assemble lesson plans or discussion guides related to the Day, asking questions to help children and young people reflect on their memories, stories they have heard, commonalities and differences, what the past means, and what kind of society they want for the future.
Stories can be told, helping children and young people to place the past, present and future into a relevant context.
Utilise music, films, and the arts as a means of reflection through either discussion or personal meditation.
While school assemblies on the day could be considered prescriptive (i.e. forcing students to participate in the Day when it is supposed to be voluntary), an assembly before the Day might be a good way to help raise awareness among young people as to its purpose and how they can observe the Day in their own way.
If you or your organisation is interested in or planning to engage with the Day of Reflection, please let us know. If you would like more information please contact Ruairi Rowan on 028 9040 1290 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshop at Methodist College Law Conference on Dealing with the Past
Day of Reflection Street Theatre
Day of Reflection Street Theatre
Early Years: Playing the Same Game
Culture NI Video on Everyday Objects Transformed by the Conflict
Everyday Objects Transformed by the Conflict