Local filmmaker raises funds for documentary on John Muir High School
By André Coleman 05/17/2012
Local filmmaker Pablo Miralles is raising funds to complete a documentary examining desegregation at John Muir High School.
“Can We All Get Along,” will highlight the stories of Muir parents, teachers, administrators and students from the 1950s all the way to the mid-1980s, when the full effects of Proposition 13, which limited property taxes, decimated local schools.
During that time period, Muir’s student body became less integrated as wealthier white families fled the district.
“In an age of racial insensitivity, Muir represented an opportunity not taken by much of society,” Miralles told the Weekly. “The stories of the alumni so far have shown that their experiences were incredibly beneficial as they went out into the world, and many of the students cannot imagine what their lives would be if they had not attended the school.”
Miralles said he used the famous Rodney King quote from the 1992 LA Riots because King was also a John Muir High School student, who grew up in the same West Altadena neighborhood as Miralles.
John Muir High moved to the forefront of racial discussions in 1963, when La Cañada Flintridge opened its own high school after African-American families began moving into Northwest Pasadena. White families pulled 800 children from the district and placed them in La Cañada High School.
In a failed effort to stop white flight, the district built Blair High School for white families still living in Pasadena who didn’t want their kids going to Muir, which by that time was 60 percent black.
Blair and Pasadena high schools were overcrowded by white children whose families did not want to send them to the “minority school.”
In 1970, US District Judge Manuel Real sided with families suing the Pasadena Unified School District, who claimed the district was maintaining a racially segregated school system. Real found that the school district was guilty of committing “intentional segregative acts,” which led Real to order students bused from one school to another to balance the racial makeup of each school.
To donate to the movie project, visit kickstarter.com/projects/gatg/can-we-all-get-along.
For more information on “Can We All Get Along?” vist arroyofilms.com or email email@example.com.