Members of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Miami Class of 2010-2011 had a vision: they wanted to find a meaningful way to connect this community’s storied past with its future.  The team, Momentum Miami, did so by connecting the veterans of Brigade 2506 – an extraordinary class of individuals who were uniquely tied into the development of Miami – with a diverse group of high school and middle school students.  Their idea: to facilitate a recorded oral history of these men and their individual experiences during the Bay of Pigs Invasion in the hopes of creating a unique and practical educational experience for the participating students.
Momentum Miami worked with students from all over Miami-Dade County, including Bay Point Schools, Miami Senior High School, Miami Coral Park Senior High School, Hialeah Gardens Senior High School, as well as JFK Middle School and with home-schooled students.  Along with their partners – Miami World Cinema Center (the first non-profit film production studio), Dr. Greg Bush and Dr. Paul George – Momentum Miami hosted  seminars on oral history technique, oral history ethics, filming, interviewing and editing.  The goal of these seminars was  to provide these students with the  skills to not only engage these local historical figures, but to also treat these men with the proper balance of objectivity and respect that their accounts deserved.  Momentum Miami received backing from several local businesses and not-for profit groups, such as the Florida Humanities Counsel, Miami Dade Community College, Continental National Bank, Citibank, Wells Fargo, South Motors Automotive Group, Baptist Health South Florida and Yoss, LLP.

The students prepared for and filmed interviews twenty-seven participants of the Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Through these interviews, Momentum Miami and the students experienced first-hand how these men overcame injury, exile, imprisonment, and, in many cases, torture, to become senators, commissioners, bankers, media personalities, federal agents, military leaders and surgeons.  Though the Bay of Pigs was not a military victory, the end result was that the underpinnings of today’s Miami were formed.  And, fifty years after the Invasion, these men continue to impact Miami..

With the guidance of MWCC, the students produced four, five minute mini-documentaries, entitled “Stories from the Bay of Pigs: An Intergenerational Educational Experience.”  The films centered on the themes of patriotism, courage, brotherhood and legacy.   In addition, MWCC produced twenty-five minute documentary chronicling the lessons learned and the impact of this project on them.  These films premiered at Little Havana’s Tower Theater.  In addition, these films, along with the forty-plus hours of full archival footage, as well as transcripts prepared by Hialeah Garden Students, have been submitted to the U.S. Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project.

These films and the stories they document were a labor of love for all involved.  Countless hours, immeasurable effort and extreme care were expended by all involved.  Momentum Miami is proud to have been a part of these stories and the work that these students put forth.  And we are proud to present these films for your consumption.  We hope you learn as much from these films as we did.  Thank you.