Update Monday, Jan. 7: The deadline to register for StoryCorps' One Small Step recordings at Miami University Regional campuses has been extended through Sunday, Jan. 13.
The Peabody Award-winning oral history project is doing a "special initiative" matching a conservative and a liberal for recorded conversations in an effort for both sides to better understand each other's point of view.
"We had far more liberal folks sign up than conservatives, so in order to match up people, StoryCorps gave us another week for people to register to participate in February," says Claire Wagner, Miami University News and Communications director. A registration link is in the story below.
Original post Thursday, Dec. 27: StoryCorps, the Peabody Award-winning oral history archive, is coming to the Miami University Regional campuses in February for a special initiative called One Small Step.
One Small Step invites "people with different viewpoints to have great conversations and to listen with compassion — even when we disagree," according to the Miami University news release.
"We’re inviting people, who do not yet know each other, to record a new kind of conversation," StoryCorps explains in an email to me. "We’re asking them take one small step towards each other in the hopes of breaking down the barriers created by politics and remember our common humanity. This isn't to argue out the tough subjects, rather, it’s a safe place to understand more about someone who holds different viewpoints."
Potential participants must complete a One Small Step registration form and questionnaire by Sunday, Jan. 13, the university says. StoryCorps says registrants will be asked their "political beliefs, reasons for your interest, and availability. After we receive your responses, we’ll work to pair you with someone from across the aisle."
The Miami University release describes One Small Step this way:
People with different political views will record a StoryCorps interview with each other. With a facilitator, it is hoped they will break down boundaries created by politics and remember our shared humanity. The goal is to remind people that:
There are more things we have in common with each other than there are things that divide us.
Treating those with whom we disagree with decency and respect is essential to a functioning democracy.
With One Small Step, StoryCorps seeks to counteract intensifying political divides by facilitating and recording conversations that enable people who disagree to listen to each other with respect.
Miami University Regionals are the local host for this series of One Small Step recordings. As pieces of oral history, StoryCorps interviews are archived at the Library of Congress and recordings are also available to individuals.
Miami University is interested in having such conversations continue. If you, as an individual, community or business leader, are interested in participating in a continued conversation, please contact the Center for Civic Education at Miami Regionals at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-785-3005.
StoryCorps twice has recorded in Cincinnati, in 2008 and 2017, in a specially outfitted Airstream trailer. For One Small Step, the nonprofit StoryCorps is not bringing its Airsteam. The location, date and time for the recordings at Miami's Middletown or Hamilton locations has not been announced.
StoryCorps' email encouraged me to "recommend us to a friend, to a family member, to a neighbor — forward this email to someone you know and help us spread the word to people you’d like to get involved. Reach out to us at email@example.com.
"We look forward to seeing what we can learn from each other by listening to each other," the email says.