WBHM, NPR and StoryCorps invite Birmingham to take “One Small Step” across the political divide Feb. 7

Join WBHM for this history-making night as Birmingham charts a path forward for our city, our state and our country with “One Small Step: A Night of Courageous Conversation.”

WBHMSmallStep2, NPR and StoryCorps will present “One Small Step: A Night of Courageous Conversation,” hosted by NPR’s Elise Hu, Friday, Feb. 7, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  

This inspirational show in three acts will include multimedia presentations, audience interaction, music and, most importantly, courageous conversation. Attendees will leave inspired to reach across the political divide to understand those with whom they might disagree, as together with WBHM, NPR and StoryCorps they explore how the small step of talking across divides — and hearing each other — can help mend the fraying fabric of our nation.

Hu will be joined on stage at UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center by guests Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps; Erick Erickson, a conservative evangelical American blogger and radio host; and LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund and an organizer, philanthropic consultant and political strategist. 

“One Small Step” is an effort to remind the country of the humanity in people with whom we may disagree, Isay says.

Join WBHM for this history-making night as Birmingham charts a path forward for our city, our state and our country. The show will begin at 7 p.m. There will also be music by Jimmy Hall with Southern Culture Revival. Hall, an Alabama native, is the cofounder and leader of Wet Willie, known for its hit song “Keep On Smilin’.” Hall is an inductee of both the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Tickets are $15 and are available at wbhm.org. For more information contact Audrey M. Atkins, 205-934-0130. 

"One Small Step: A Night of Courageous Conversation" is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“In doing this, we believe we can begin to mend the fraying fabric of our nation,” Isay said.  “History shows us the damage that dehumanization can inflict, from slavery to Nazi Germany.  ‘One Small Step’ was built to begin undoing a culture of ‘Us vs. Them’ because democracy cannot survive in a swamp of mutual contempt.”

For more than 15 years, StoryCorps has perfected a method for helping people feel more connected and less alone, for increasing hope and decreasing fear of the other, and for reminding listeners of the inherent worth of every life and every story. Half a million Americans have participated in StoryCorps interviews to date, making it the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered.

Most people who have taken part in StoryCorps have done so because they know and love one another. As a response to the growing crisis of contempt in the United States, in 2018 StoryCorps began testing a new kind of interview session: one that gives strangers on opposite sides of the political divide the opportunity to talk about their lives with one another. “One Small Step” interviews are not political debates; they are simply a safe environment where two people can get to know each other as human beings. 

“We know we have a powerful methodology for decreasing fear of the other,” Isay said. “We’ve seen the people across the divide come together, look one another in the eye, and recognize that it’s hard to hate up close.”

Founded in 2003 by Isay, StoryCorps has given people of all backgrounds and beliefs, in thousands of towns and cities in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives. The organization preserves the recordings in its archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered, and shares select stories with the public through StoryCorps’ podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms and bestselling books. These powerful human stories reflect the vast range of American experiences, wisdom and values; engender empathy and connection; and remind us how much more we have in common than what divides us. 

NPR is an independent, nonprofit media organization founded on a mission to create a more informed public. Every day, NPR connects with millions of Americans on the air, online and in person to explore the news, ideas and what it means to be human. Through its network of member stations, NPR makes local stories national, national stories local and global stories personal.

WBHM, a listener-supported service of UAB, is “Public Radio for the Heart of Alabama” and home to the Alabama Reading Service, a resource for the blind and print-impaired. Much more than a radio station, WBHM is an essential public resource that enlightens and enriches its audience and makes strong connections to its communities through journalism that is fair, credible, accurate and honest. Free from commercial and political influence, WBHM seeks to make Birmingham and Alabama a better place to live by educating, engaging and entertaining the people of the Birmingham Metro area and state. WBHM is dedicated to the idea that an informed citizenry is vital to democracy and a thriving economy, and it celebrates diversity, innovation and lifelong learning.