Free Speech & Peace

StoryCorps and Ad Council launch campaign to bridge divides

March 2, 2021
StoryCorps and Ad Council launch campaign to bridge divides

America feels polarized. The divisiveness that dominates the national conversation reinforces the sense that our country is more divided than at any other time in recent history. There is real concern that our social fabric is tearing at the seams.

In moments like these, it’s human nature to want to turn inward and close off. But we’re also capable of reaching out across what divides us. Stories have the power to help us bridge difference.

To help foster these connections, StoryCorps and the Ad Council launched a campaign that will build on the One Small Step (OSS) initiative, a project that uses storytelling and listening to strengthen relationships between Americans from different backgrounds.

The announcement provides additional detail:

The campaign website features animated videos of real people who have participated in One Small Step, and conversation starters and tips on how you can foster meaningful conversations with others, even those who may have different political views, backgrounds and life experiences. Visitors to the website can also sign up to be matched with a stranger by StoryCorps and to participate in a One Small Step conversation. Through these thoughtful and deep conversations, the campaign reminds us that conversations have the ability to reveal our shared humanity if we open ourselves up to share and listen. We all have an important role to play in creating a more united and accepting nation; it starts with harnessing the power of conversation.

Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps, said, “By bringing together strangers of different perspectives to have courageous and meaningful conversations about their lives, One Small Step helps to decrease feelings of contempt across political divides, allowing Americans to see one another as human beings. We have developed a proven method to address the toxic polarization in this country, and we are excited to work with our partners to help remind the country that it’s our patriotic duty to see the humanity in those with whom we may disagree.”

StoryCorps piloted One Small Step starting in 2018. One Small Step is made possible by the generous support of the Fetzer Institute, The Hearthland Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Charles Koch Institute.

Watch this short animation to learn more about One Small Step:

You can learn more about StoryCorps efforts here.

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.