Oz Roberts.

How did you hear about One Small Step?

A friend of mine told me about it—he had done an interview with another gentleman. I love the community and have a huge interest in seeing it get better. That’s why I wanted to participate.

Do you think One Small Step could help bridging divides between people? 

I think so. If it is utilized properly, people have to follow through. A lot of times, the people who are participating, or more eager, aren’t necessarily the ones who need to participate. 

How do we get the other people to the table who aren’t as eager?

Figuring out how to get people to communicate with those that are not like them is key, but we have preconceived notions of others. For example, I assumed I would be paired with someone younger for my conversation, but assumptions are not always correct. We sometimes live in bubbles. I met someone once that had never met a Black person and I think about the kids who grow up in certain areas of the city who have never been to other areas. When you make assumptions, it can lead to less empathy and less willingness to understand other people.

When you are having a conversation with someone who is different from you, what are the ‘aha’ moments that can change perspectives? 

When I do events, I love to do some icebreakers about things that I know people most likely have in common: siblings, hobbies—these things bind us together. If we are able to identify what makes us more alike than different, we may be able to listen more.

We also need to be more empathetic and more kind, instead of so focused on ourselves. Hopefully, we can realize that we are all the same and generally want the same things. 

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to participate in One Small Step? 

A lot of people operate out of fear. If we are able to drop it at times, I think we can have less divisiveness. Sometimes we do things for the greater good and that’s what [OSS] is to me.