Last Sunday evening, Sept. 14,  West Chester University student Taylor Enterline was wrongfully arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest. On Thursday, Sept 17, Enterline’s bail was reduced from $1,000,000 to $50,000 and she was released from Lancaster County police. Monday, Sept. 21, Enterline faces a preliminary hearing that will determine whether or not she will go to trial.

Protestors were responding to the recent killing of 27-year-old Ricardo Miguel Muñoz by Lancaster police. Friends of Enterline have expressed that she “has always been an advocate for change and equality.” During the protest, Enterline was working as a medic where she assisted those who were hurt or tear gassed by police.

 Various student led organizations at her school reposted her encounter with the police including helpful ways to support. Enterline’s close friends and schoolmates Ta’jah Norman and Tyler Hamler shared a GoFundMe page that would assist with Enterline’s legal charges. The goal set on the GoFundMe account was for $35,000. 

Despite Enterline’s peaceful engagement during protests, those close to her believe that it was not a coincidence that she was arrested. Norman believes that Enterline was targeted due to her consistency in going to protests. 

“I’ve known her for three years now, and she’s always been a peaceful protester. She went to the protest in Philadelphia this summer, and when police were teargassing, she was a medic. She always had extra water bottles to help clear protestors’ eyes after being teargassed,” said Norman.

Norman also mentioned that after being arrested, Enterline had not been able to speak to her mother until Tuesday night and was denied her family attorney by Lancaster police.

Enterline was especially passionate about learning about how to end systems of oppression within an academic setting. In August, Taylor started her junior year of college majoring in criminal justice with minors in youth empowerment studies and women and gender studies. 

News quickly spread about Enterline’s arrest due to her positive impact within the West Chester community.

Some West Chester professors have been active in their support for Enterline through contributing to her legal fees and circulating information about her GoFundMe. Professor Vilceus, known to Enterline and most students as “Professor Sunshine,” is concerned about her former student.

Professor Sunshine taught Enterline in her Writing-120 and -204 courses. Hearing about Enterline’s wrongful arrest was difficult for her because they would often have conversations about social injustice.

“…The fact that we talked about prison reform and we streamed “When They See Us” as a class… she’s just one of the students that are exemplar and memorable in those conversations specifically,” said Professor Sunshine.

Professor Sunshine went on to say that Enterline was one of her brightest students and can not imagine how frightening this situation must be for her. One thing that she wants people to take away from Enterline’s situation is that injustices against people of color are not distant issues and can happen anywhere.

“It’s one thing to read an article about someone else. It’s another to read an article about a student… Now that more professors are incorporating anti-racist pedagogy into their curriculum and are talking about things that we go through on a day-to-day basis, I think it’s important for us to put our money where our mouth is. In a situation like this, this is the time to mobilize. This is the time to put in action all of the things that we have been talking about,” said Professor Sunshine.

Since Enterline’s release, what will happen next has entered the thoughts of many people. Given the history between people of color and the country’s justice system, Enterline’s community hopes that the court rules fairly in their decision this Monday.

“The justice system is not just. It’s not about our knowledge about these people, these amazing human beings. I think for me it’s unsettling… because it’s not up to us. To a certain degree it is, in writing articles like this, having conversations and spreading awareness, but the initial bail was so bizarre, as an understatement, and if something like that is possible… anything is and I think that’s the unsettling part,” said Professor Sunshine.

On campus, Taylor is a peer educator for the Center for Women and Gender Equity, working on initiatives including Situationships Facilitator, 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference Planning committee, 2019 It’s On Us Kick O& Pledge Drives support and facilitation, 2020 FDI/CWGE Black History Month Event — Janet Dewart Bell and much more!

The Center for Women and Gender Equity spoke highly of Enterline and contributions to her community: “…Taylor is incredibly thoughtful and reflective in everything that she does. She always centers others feelings and has always sought to try to understand others perspectives. Taylor is committed to advancing social change through nonviolent means and she has devoted much of her time and energy to learning and then moving to non-violent action. Taylor is courageous and truly seeks to make her communities more just and equitable.” 

Enterline is also a member of Green Dreamz, Lancaster Stands Up and Lancaster Abolitionist. She has had a great impact in her community. Whether it be her friends, colleagues or professors, many can attest to her joyful personality and are hoping that all charges are dropped on her behalf.

 

Written by Chikayla Barriner. CB898616@wcupa.edu

Leave a Comment