By Faithe Estes

WUSF is excited to be one of just six public media stations selected nationwide to participate in a new StoryCorps initiative designed to reclaim America’s civil discourse. One Small Step aims to break down boundaries created by politics and remind us of our shared humanity.

Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and StoryCorps, One Small Step brings two people together who have differing political perspectives and asks them questions that reach the core of their beliefs and the emotional experiences that brought them there.

The purpose of these interviews is to provide an opportunity for people to share personal feelings and experiences and to enable those who disagree to listen to each other with respect. Rather than spark additional political debates, One Small Step encourages answers to questions like, “Was there a moment, event or person in your life that shaped your political views?” and “What scares you most when you think about the future?”

These kinds of questions help people discover the root of their own political stances on various issues. The format allows participants and listeners who may disagree on policies to understand better why others may feel differently. There is no blame and no right answer, only lived experiences that participants can share with one another.

StoryCorps Founder Dave Isay explains the importance of One Small Step, “Our nation is divided. Much of what is driving that division is fear and a lack of understanding and empathy for those with whom we don’t agree. We hope that One Small Step will provide a beacon of hope during these difficult and divided days.”

To date, StoryCorps has collected interviews with over 500,000 Americans. These conversations are then preserved for posterity at the Library of Congress, which is where the One Small Step stories will also be stored.

“Our station is honored to be a part of this very special and important initiative,” shared WUSF General Manager and Associate Vice President JoAnn Urofsky.

WUSF is eager to hear from voices in the Tampa Bay and hopes to obtain a diverse selection of participants for One Small Step. All backgrounds and opinions are welcomed and encouraged. There is no cost to participate.

Interviews are currently being collected and will continue to be collected until it has 25 (by May or June). If interested in participating, please visit www.wusf.usf.edu and click on the ‘One Small Step’ tile for more information.