Wednesday, April 12, 2023

#102 / One Small Step


A "Weekend Confidential" column by Emily Bobrow, appearing in the March 11-12, 2023, edition of The Wall Street Journal, more or less blew me away. Here was something I had never heard about! 
The column profiled Dave Isay, who founded a nonprofit organization called "StoryCorps," about twenty years ago. Click right here for a link to the article in The Wall Street Journal. I can't guarantee that The Journal will let non-subscribers actually read the article, but I hope it will!  
Clicking on this link will tell you how the StoryCorps program works. If you do click on the link it will give you a chance to participate, besides just telling you about the program: 
Since 2003, StoryCorps has built the largest collection of human voices ever archived — and we want to add yours. Our mission is to build connections, encourage compassion between people, and share stories, big and small. Have an incredible story to tell? Want to have a meaningful talk with someone important in your life? We’d love for you to join in and preserve your voice for future generations. It’s simple to get started!
Isay has now built upon the twenty-year record developed by StoryCorps, and has initiated a new program, called "One Small Step." This new program is specifically "political" in its ambitions, and its intention is to help Americans "bridge political divides." 
Let's hope that Isay's new program is able to do that. According to another column in the same edition of The Wall Street Journal, America is infected with a political "rage virus" - and I would have to say that I do see a lot of evidence for that. The "cure" for this disease, Isay argues, is "talking to strangers," something that I have touted in many of my own blog postings. Isay is definitely seeking to go from "theory" to "practice," and I am personally prepared to believe that he is on to something. 
By clicking here, you can find out more about the "Small Step" initiative. That link will take you to a website maintained by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and I don't believe you'll encounter any paywall problem. If you do follow up, by clicking the link, you will find this description of the new program, as explained by Dave Isay: 

The growing culture of contempt and dehumanization in America poses an existential threat to our democracy. Over the past three years, with the help of scientists and psychologists across the country (and with the support of CPB!), StoryCorps has developed and tested a powerful intervention that can turn “thems” into “us-es.” One Small Step brings strangers across political divides together for conversations—not to talk about politics, but to get to know each other as human beings. We hope One Small Step at scale can help the country to see the humanity in those with whom we disagree. One Small Step speaks to the values of public media—innovation, excellence, and, above all else, public service to the American people. It’s a moonshot initiative, but we’re giving it everything we’ve got.
What did Neil Armstrong say, up there on the moon? "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
I am guessing that this is where Dave Isay got the name for his new program. Considering how that "rage virus" is going around, I think the "One Small Step" idea is definitely worth a shot!

You can listen to an example of the "One Small Step" program by watching this short video: 

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