Muir Alumnus Documents Pasadena Unified’s Busing Battle

Published : Thursday, November 7, 2013 | 11:43 AM

Two years ago, documentary filmmaker Pablo Miralles came across a Facebook conversation among some of his former John Muir High School classmates.  Like Miralles, both are classmates entered elementary school in the early 1970s, just as Pasadena instituted busing to integrate its public schools.

“Everyone was talking about how fortunate we were to grow up in schools with kids of all different races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Diversity was the norm for us, but most of us had no idea how controversial busing was at the time,” Miralles recalls.

Those social media comments motivated Miralles to produce a short film in which a multiracial group of friends reflected on how growing up on multicultural campuses gave them cherished memories as well as an inclusive and optimistic world view.  The enthusiastic reception that the film received at the Muir class of 1981’s 30-year reunion convinced Miralles to expand his project. “I wanted to take a broader look at the history of PUSD, the racial politics that surrounded desegregation, the dismantling of busing and the impact of funding cuts to public schools,” states the filmmaker.

Miralles decided to use Muir as a case study in telling the overall story of Pasadena school integration.  “I focused on Muir because it has a wonderful and unique history and because, over the decades it has reflected both the successes and the challenges facing Pasadena public schools,” explains Miralles.

The result of Miralles’ efforts is the feature length documentary, Can We All Get Along?  Stories of Integration from John Muir High, which covers the triumphs and turbulence surrounding desegregation and examines the tough questions regarding the future of Pasadena’s public schools.

A rough cut of Can We All Get Along will premier at Muir’s Rufus Mead Auditorium this Sunday, November 10, at 2:00 p.m. as part of Muir’s Turkey Tussle Homecoming festivities.  The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the filmmaker, Muir principal Tim Sippel, Vice-Mayor Jacque Robinson, student leaders and community members.

For more information on Can We Get Along, visit the film’s Indiegogo crowdfunding site, http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/can-we-all-get-along-stories-of-integration-from-john-muir-high  or Facebook page:  facebook.com/canweallgetalongfilm

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