By Matthew Rodriguez
Pasadena Weekly Associate Editor
The creators of the documentary “Thorns on the Rose” have created a scholarship in honor of Anthony McClain.
“We thought about the high school kids and the challenges they were having,” producer James Farr said. “We made the decision to go through a scholarship.”
With the blessing of McClain’s family, Farr and director Dennis Haywood launched the Anthony McClain Fellowship for Social Justice. The scholarship will go to a black graduate of any public high school in the Pasadena Unified School District.
“Students who attend one of Pasadena’s many private schools can potentially have access to resources that students at a public high school may not have,” said Farr. “The students of a public high school can come from a different social and economic background and we thought we could bridge the gap [the gap] equity and access to resources. “
Although Farr himself did not graduate from college, he is hopeful that this scholarship will allow at least one student to graduate.
“Our desire was to have the greatest impact with just one student,” said Farr. “The idea is if you can reduce that debt, that burden, that’s a benefit. The motivation is to help someone else. I would have liked this type of opportunity to be offered to me. “
Currently, the filmmakers have raised $ 7,000 through community donations and film revenues. They hope to raise over $ 10,000 before announcing the winner.
“It’s a year less lending, a year less debt, and it gives them the opportunity, when they graduate, to start a little further,” Farr said.
Applicants must submit their latest ballot and an essay on the Farr and Haywood film. Students should also list their extracurriculars as well as their plans after high school.
“Thorns on the Rose: Black Abuse, Corruption and the Pasadena Police” describes decades of abuse by the Pasadena Police Department. The film uses footage from cellphones and police cameras to show the beating of Christopher Bellew and the murders of Kendrec McDade and McClain.
McClain, a black man, was shot in the back by a PPD officer after fleeing a routine traffic stop last year. Authorities said he was armed and found a gun at the scene. McClain’s lawyer, Ben Crump and the filmmakers dispute this claim.
McClain’s death sparked outrage in the community, with many calling for police reform. Shortly after his death, Pasadena City Council established the Police Review Board. The city council appointed its first members last month.
The filmmakers hoped to take the tragic situation and make it something that would positively affect the community.
The deadline to apply is May 28. All information should be submitted to [email protected] The winner will be announced on June 8.
With the help of the Boston Court Theater, the filmmakers are hosting a virtual screening of their film on Saturday, May 22 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $ 9.99 and are available on Eventbrite. All profits will go to the scholarship fund.