That was none other than Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, who was in Richmond recently looking for locals to participate in a new venture called One Small Step.
Dave made the rounds with speeches at St. Paul’s Church and in front of a packed house at Creative Mornings talking about the new venture. He also had sit-downs at City Hall and the Times-Dispatch to help get the word out.
And that word is this: Richmond has been selected as one of four cities across the country to pilot a new initiative designed to help bridge the ever-widening political divide in the country. While StoryCorps’ signature program involves recorded interviews with two people who know each other – husbands and wives, grandparents and grandkids, longtime friends – One Small Step is setting out to record conversations between people of different political stripes, but with one caveat – talking politics is a no-no.
The goal of OSS is to find common ground, for participants – and by extension, the listeners to the conversations – to recognize our shared humanity. With polls showing the country’s polls moving in opposite directions (one recent survey found that more than half of Americans believe we are on a path to civil war), Dave sees the new initiative as being a positive step in the right direction, and he is encouraging Richmond-area residents to sign up for a taped conversation. Once you apply, you’ll be matched with someone of a different political stripe and be given guidance on the kinds of questions to ask one another.
By all accounts, the recordings to date are having exactly the intended effect, and even new friendships have been spawned. While there is currently a waiting list of 10,000 people, Dave says that those from Richmond who sign up will move right to the top of the list.
Interested? You can find out more and sign up here.
StoryCorps and One Small Step logos used with permission of StoryCorps