The momentum behind One Small Step (OSS) Richmond continues to accelerate and the numbers don’t lie. Richmond is leading the way in total participants and questionnaires submitted this year, and Virginia’s capital city is clearly embracing the idea that we can bridge political divides through conversation.
While the effort has been focused intensively in four Anchor Communities (Fresno, CA; Wichita, KS; Richmond, and our newest Anchor Community: Columbus, GA), over 4,300 people across 40 states have participated to date.
All of these small steps have been leading to bigger ones. Research conducted by Yale University’s Social Perception and Communication Laboratory, found that, following their OSS conversations, both liberal and conservative participants felt more empathetic—not only toward their interview partner—but also toward all people on the “other side.” Additional research on various aspects of the program is also showing that OSS can shift people’s perceptions and hopefully, over time, help normalize cross partisan conversations.
In Richmond, in addition to an advertising campaign featuring local OSS participants, Richmonders will also see OSS flyers and door hangers around town as part of recent grassroots activities.
Additional local activities for OSS Richmond include hosting in-person recording sessions over the next month or so with various partners, such as the Library of Virginia (Oct. 2-6), University of Mary Washington (Oct. 24-28), and later this year, Virginia Tech Richmond Center (dates TBD). Those living in the area can sign up for a conversation here.
This fall, as we prepare to onboard a new OSS field manager, OSS Richmond will have a localized team for the first time. Why participate in OSS Richmond? As OSS RIchmond Community Chair, Frazier Armstrong, noted, “[OSS] is an opportunity to relate to each other with our best selves and to look intentionally for things we have in common rather than those things that divide us.”