KSUT Public Radio wants to remind us of the humanity in all of us, even those with whom we disagree. Would you like to take One Small Step to help? You’re watching the Local News Network, brought to you by the law firm of Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley and TBK Bank. I’m Hannah Robertson. KSUT recently announced, that it is one of only six public radio stations in the country to receive a grant to become part of a national program called, “One Small Step,” a storytelling program that brings two strangers together to talk about their lives, not politics. It’s a project developed by StoryCorps, a non-profit organization that collects, shares and preserves people’s stories through conversation. Founded in 2003, with the opening of a story booth in Grand Central Terminal in New York City, it broadcast the conversations on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.
When you listen to a StoryCorps story, it creates what we call, “Driveway moments,” sometimes, where you can’t get out of your car, cuz you need to finish listening to that story because it’s really impacting you and it’s powerful.
Piloted in 2018 and launched in 2021, One Small Step brings strangers together for a conversation about their lives. Each conversation is archived at the Library of Congress, and some interviews are edited into short audio and animated stories. It’s based on the premise that meaningful interaction between people with opposing views can help us turn ‘thems’ into ‘us’s’.
And it was really around, David, I say, the Founder of StoryCorps, realizing how divided our country was becoming and seeing the impact that these one-on-one conversations have of people that know each other well in the notion of, “What if we paired people that were on different sides of the political spectrum, that maybe think they have nothing in common, and that could sit and have a conversation, not about politics, but about other things, like, “Who is the,” and they ask each other questions, “Who is the most influential person in your life and why? Is there someone you love or respect that has very different views of you, but you still love and respect them?” And talk about that. And so finding places of connection versus this hyper-focus that seemed to be happening in this country over the last several years, about how different we all are.
Graham said, “The station wants to attract participants from a wide range of cultural and political backgrounds from throughout the Four Corners.” Trained facilitators manage the one-on-one conversations, which can be conducted over Zoom or in person. To participate, fill out an application and questionnaire on the KSUT website, and the station will contact you for an interview and to schedule a conversation. The one-on-one discussions are not meant to focus on politics, but if they stray in that direction, Graham says, “They can be life-changing.”
They can be really profound and healing because people are actually like… They’ve built this foundation in the conversation where they can really listen to each other, like, “Oh, I never thought about that perspective before. Now I think I have a better understanding, and maybe I don’t agree with you, but I at least have a better understanding and can listen a little more because of the way that the conversation was set up.” So I think there’s a lot of opportunity for people to talk about some difficult things, in a way that really encourages listening, as humans and not as Republicans or Democrats or Libertarians.
If you’d like to know more or would like to participate in a One Small Step conversation, visit the radio station’s website at ksut.org. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I’m Hannah Robertson.