By Kate Quesada

The Southern Hillsborough County rural community of Wimauma is receiving attention this month thanks to a documentary put together by Tampa-based online magazine, 83 Degrees Media. The documentary, Why Wimauma Matters, tells the stories of many residents of the area with the goal of shining a light on the community and the changes it is undergoing.

“We found that many people don’t know about Wimauma, despite its close proximity to Tampa and the Brandon area,” said Diane Egner, Publisher and Managing Editor of 83 Degrees Media. “We decided to let people from the area tell their stories by video to explain more about the area and help provide ideas for how the community can grow and face challenges in the future.”

According to Egner, Wimauma is home to more than 6,500 people, 75 percent of Hispanic background. The video features stories from a diverse group of residents from Ismael Lebron-Bravo, Principal at Wimauma Elementary, to Rev. Bill Cruz Jr., Pastor at Good Samaritan Mission.

“The stories are those of a diverse population, natives and longtime landowners, retirees from northern states as well as immigrants and migrant laborers,” said Julie Branaman, Managing Photographer at 83 Degrees Media, who edited the video. “The stories are important because Wimauma is facing rapid transformation as the demand for housing in Florida grows, weather and disease shrink traditional agricultural production and investors look for new opportunities.”

It took approximately a year for journalists to collect the stories in the video and they have been pleased with the results and response from the community. In addition to speaking to residents of the area, the project also included a bus trip to Wimauma for a group of Tampa leaders including County Commissioner Victor Crist and other people interested in helping to shape the future of the area. The group is now looking to do similar projects in different communities throughout the region.

“The more you can tell positive stories and deliver positive perspectives, the more positive things will happen,” said Egner.

For more information and to view the video, visit www.83degreesmedia.com.