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Why riot? Community, choices, aspirations
Why riot? Community, choices, aspirations

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3 Being true to yourself

In Sessions 1 and 2 you looked at how the societies in which you grow up can influence how you see yourself in the world, both positively and negatively, limiting the range of choices available to you. This is particularly the case in societies and communities where there is a history of violence, like Northern Ireland and the Shankill area where the boys you met are growing up and where William works.

You also heard William’s story of growing up in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and how he became involved in the conflict as a 15-year-old boy before being imprisoned in the Maze and Long Kesh prison. Reflecting on his actions in part 2 of his story, William described how:

‘As a young man with the limited opportunities that I felt was presented to me, I had a limited imagination. I didn’t aspire to be anything beyond the immediacy of my situation.’

Your choices can also be constrained or limited by the context within which you live, and by the knowledge and information as well as the opportunities you have access to. These factors can influence how others see you, as well as how you see yourself and the choices you make. But they do not need to shape or determine your whole future. As William explained in his story, learning how to think more deeply widened his imagination and gave him more choices and the freedom to create a different future and to take different actions to make change happen.