WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Politics can lead to heated discussions and cause rifts between people. “One Small Step” is an initiative looking to de-escalate before the conversation starts.
“It’s very easy to have conversations with people that look and sound like you and have the same viewpoint,” said Damon Zick, Wichita.
The program is pushing people beyond their comfort zone.
“If you put people who think they’re enemies together, and they have an emotional experience talking to each other, they can come out the other side seeing each other as human beings,” said Dave Isay, founder of “One Small Step.”
In 2021, the nonprofit Story Corps started “One Small Step.” The program connects two strangers on opposite sides of the political spectrum for just under an hour.
“Not to talk about politics, but just to get to know each other as human beings under the premise that it’s hard to hate up close,” Isay explained.
Wichita is one of three cities anchoring the program.
“We’ve got so many real people here, which makes it really powerful,” said Wichitan Katie Grover.
In September, Katie Grover got paired up with Damon Zick for a conversation.
“Coming in, I’d seen Damon’s bio, and I can, I know a lot of people like Damon, and I know that they’re good humans. Do we agree on everything? No, but is that okay? Yes,” Grover said.
The two found commonalities among differences.
“When you look a little deeper, you’ve got kids, and you’re married, and you care for people, and that actually doesn’t look a whole lot different,” Zick said.
“I felt like through our conversation, we were in a total no-judgment zone,” Grover said.
“It just created hope for me,” Zick said.
The duo meets a potentially tense situation with comfort and ease.
People across the country are on the waitlist. Wichitans get priority for the program. You can sign up by clicking here.