Sim Shah

Associate Features Editor

“WTF! Where’s the funding,” was written on one of the posters at the Educate the State Rally on Tuesday, in front of the library. Faculty, students, and speakers attended the event to advocate for equal and affordable education for all. There was music and sign making in between speeches and spoken word performances.

Millersville Students participate in protecting their beliefs about lowering tuition costs and equal education opportunities during the “Educate the State” rally on April 23, 2019. (All photos courtesy of Sim Shah.)

There was a table set up where students were invited to write down what they spent on books and what they could have done with that money instead.

Rachel Hicks, the event coordinator, said, “We have so many different aspects of education justice that have been all brought together by this one event.” Speakers talked about the arts, economics, LGBTQA+ rights, the experience of students of color, and other topics relevant to education equality. The event was an opportunity for people with different views to come together to advocate for an affordable education.

One speaker, Sherri Castillo, a Millersville alumn, Is now an english teacher at McCaskey High School. Castillo jokes that she is “in charge of all things gay.” Castillo graduated from Millersville University with a Bachelor Degree in English Education and went on to earn her Master’s Degree from Penn State University.

Previously, Castillo taught at New Hope Academy Charter School in York. While teaching there, Castillo recalls an interaction with her former principal, “My principal,” she explains, “ told me not to come out to any of my students.” Castillo is married to a woman but was not allowed to talk about her wife. At the charter school, Castillo did not have union protection and feared losing her job because of discrimination.

“They never fire you for that, they find a different reason,” Castillo said.

Castillo tries to educate people on how to address people with their preferred pronouns and how to be respectful to people of all sexual orientations. “I think it’s just a matter of not understanding,” said Castillo.

Jovan Cosby and Jon Bolds performed spoken word poetry about their experiences at college:

“Our skin color ain’t the only thing that looks different, our viewpoints on things are literal opposites,” Bolds stated. Bolds rapped about what it is like to be a black student who attended a city school prior to college. He included his experiences with barred windows and his anxieties about being judged by white students in his lyrics.

Cosby’s lyrics included his learning difficulties with basic math and feeling like he can’t fit in and doesn’t belong at the university. Inequality in inner city education as compared to suburban education, leaves students unprepared for the coursework and overwhelmed with unequal expenses.

“Would it be wrong if I said I don’t even belong here?” said Cosby.

College expenses are growing, and students and faculty are demanding equality. Many people do not attend college because they cannot afford to and most who attend have to worry about debt. Participants in Tuesday’s rally came together to spread awareness about ending the overwhelming costs of college and the discrimination that occurs within schools.