October 14, 2020
One Small Step is an effort from StoryCorps to connect people who disagree with one another to remind them of their shared humanity. In doing this, we can create spaces for thoughtful reflection and begin to mend the fraying fabric of our nation — one conversation at a time.
Today, we announced that Wichita, Kansas, will be the first of four locations where we anchor our work in 2020 and 2021. Read our announcement here.
Our work on this effort began in the days following the 2016 presidential election, when we as an organization were moved to consider how StoryCorps could respond to the growing culture of division in the United States. Since 2003, more than half a million people have taken the step of sitting down with a loved one to record a conversation about their lives. We wondered: Would people take one small step towards learning about the life and beliefs of someone who was a stranger and held contrasting political beliefs? When taken to scale, could we start to undo the idea of “us” versus “them”?
We have been piloting this concept, which we called One Small Step, since 2018. More than 800 people across 40 U.S. cities have taken part in the effort, affirming that our method — two people in a safe and respectful conversation facilitated by StoryCorps — can increase our hope and decrease feelings of contempt for people who are different than us.
We are now expanding this effort to heal and humanize each other in the challenging months and years ahead. In 2020, One Small Step will be staged in four politically divided cities, communities that our research indicates have a good probability of adopting the ethos and techniques of StoryCorps’ listening across divides. This includes Wichita, Kansas and three more locations to be announced this month.
While we are working locally in these cities, One Small Step is a nationwide project created by StoryCorps to help people get past the labels of “Republican” and “Democrat”, “liberal” and “conservative” to find our common humanity and remind Americans of the shared values that unite us.
One Small Step is made possible by the generous support of the Fetzer Institute, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg’s The Wunderkinder Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Charles Koch Institute. StoryCorps thanks these donors for their commitment to this project and to bridging divides in America.
Source: SNPR Story Corps