March 24, 2018 was a day of empowerment, unity, and progression.

Looking for a parking spot in Hartford became almost impossible as people of all walks of life flooded the streets.

As I held my poster (reading: “If there is unity, there is victory) and headed towards the Connecticut state capitol, my eyes became glossy. My voice became loud. My heart became big enough to hug the 10,000 people chanting the words to help save lives.

From teachers to police, bank tellers to students, each person I came into contact with was marching for one reason. We want change.

As I read the thousands of posters displayed in front of me, I gained hope. I thought I was crazy for thinking a human’s life is so precious that we must do anything we can to stop losing them.

While at this march, I tried to keep in mind the various opinions of others. Some may not agree with our motive, but that does not mean we cannot find a middle ground. With a subject so extremely polarized in the United States, a happy medium is all we can hold on to so we can ensure safety for everyone in our country. Calm and understanding communication is all we have at this point. This march helped me realize that because of the amount of views present. These views all lead to the same solution- safety.

Conversations with people on the other side of this subject enlightened me. Online, I encountered people who were against this rally. Instead of fighting with them like some resort to doing, I had a civilized conversation with them. I became even more educated on the subject of guns, and the other side respected my opinions and became understanding of my views. This is what we need to do to create change. Choose kind, always. Fighting both online or in person only leads to more polarization.

At this march, I realized that I was not, and will never be, alone. March 24th, 2018 will be a day marked in history. It will be written in my children’s history books when they are in school. From Connecticut to Paris, people across the world let their voices be heard. I am more than happy that I, along with my family, my friends and my teachers, took part in something so powerful.

Although I am 17, I believe that I have every right to have an opinion on this matter- an opinion additional to those of adults. I understand that adults are the lawmakers, but teenagers (and even elementary school kids) are the ones suffering first hand. When generations come together to look for change, the power of unity is something unexplainable.

At the march in Hartford, older people supported the students, and students supported their elders.

If you want to make a change, thoughts and prayers are never enough. Get out and let your voice be heard. I did, and I see a bright outcome in the future.