Free Speech & Peace

David Isay's work bridging divides featured by AP

April 7, 2021

The Associated Press (AP) recently featured Dave Isay and his work to bridge Americans’ political and philosophical divides in an article published by a myriad of outlets that span the ideological spectrum. Isay is the founder of StoryCorps, creator of the One Small Step initiative. StoryCorps is a Charles Koch Institute (CKI) partner.

The ongoing project matches two strangers with different points of view to have a conversation not about politics, but about who they are. Isay says, “One Small Step is all about this idea that we don’t have to treat each other with contempt — that you can look across the political divide and see each other as human beings.”

Sarah Ruger, CKI director of free speech and peace initiatives, told The Associated Press, “We’ve long held a vision of a world where people collaborate to solve problems and respect each other as different. What actually helps people connect across differences and builds those bridges? It turns out stories are one of the most powerful ways.”

Thus far, One Small Step and StoryCorps have brought nearly 800 people together in pairs across 40 cities. The AP story describes some of these experiences. Kate Gareau, a political independent who participated in One Small Step, says, “There is so much focus on people’s differences, especially where politics is concerned, that many forget how similar they are. Between COVID and the election, we feel very insular, and we feel very separate. Showing we’re not is really important.”

Among many outlets, ABC News carried the story. Read The Associated Press article and view ABC News’ report.

The Charles Koch Institute inspires and invests in social entrepreneurs developing solutions to America’s most pressing problems. Read more about our support for social entrepreneurs committed to free speech and peace.