The award-winning documentary “Can We All Get Along? The Segregation of John Muir High School” will premiere at 7:30 p.m. on April 26 at the high school, 1905 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena.
The film, which won top honors at both the Accolades Global Film Competition in San Diego and the Best Shorts Competition in La Jolla, traces the history of the school, from integration through desegregation and back to a segregated present.
“It’s important for me that the film premieres at John Muir High School, because it was completely supported by the community,” said producer and director Pablo Miralles.
Miralles attended John Muir from 1979 to 1982.
More than six years in the making, Miralles questions what has happened to his once diverse alma mater and whether or not to send his own son to the school in the 50-minute film.
Miralles also explores the history of Pasadena’s schools, including the 1970 federal court order that created the first desegregation plan west of the Mississippi.
The film weaves stories from alumni, administrators and civic leaders about the school’s multicultural heritage. Miralles also illustrates the challenges and failures of California and the federal government in promoting well-funded and diverse public education.
Things started coming to a head in 1963 when La Cañada Flintridge opened its own high school after African-American families began moving into Northwest Pasadena and sending their children to John Muir High. At the time, more than 800 white children were pulled out of the PUSD and placed in La Cañada High School.
The district attempted to stop the white flight by building 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. Soon, 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 district was guilty of committing “intentional segregative acts,” and ordered busing to balance the racial makeup of each school.
For more information, visit getalongfilm.com. For tickets visit bit.ly/CWAGAPREMIER