Opinion: A street matching Jimmy Carter’s legacy

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Gwinnett County road exemplifies the former president’s work.

This week, we paid tribute to President Jimmy Carter by celebrating the most important street bearing his name in the U.S.

The recent flurry of news coverage on President Carter and his impact on the world around us has been on my mind. Jimmy Carter put his own charm on a presidency at a time when the office needed a force of change. As a small token of gratitude, I was compelled to organize a tribute event that would honor him and remind folks traveling on Jimmy Carter Boulevard in the Gateway85 Community Improvement District that without his leadership, our world and our communities wouldn’t be the same.

I did some research and learned there are 8 roads named after Jimmy Carter, including one in Nigeria. However, none of them have had the impact on commerce and culture as has the Jimmy Carter Boulevard in Gwinnett County.

Credit: contributed

Credit: contributed

Gwinnett’s Jimmy Carter Boulevard runs through the heart of Norcross and is the key gateway into the County. As the city of Norcross has grown, Jimmy Carter Boulevard has remained as a testament to the enduring quality of the 39th U.S. President and the principles he espoused throughout his life. He embraced multinationalism and technology as a tool for progress and tolerance and this namesake road shows just how these ideals promote commerce and social civility.

The nine-mile stretch of road is a cultural tapestry woven from an eclectic and diverse population that enriches Norcross and the greater Atlanta area. Attracted by the promise of better lives and economic prospects, individuals from Asia, Latin America and Africa flocked to the area in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, Jimmy Carter Boulevard boasts a myriad of ethnic restaurants, grocery stores, shops and other small businesses.

Economic growth in the Sunbelt South has been powered by the influx of immigrants, which has bolstered the metro Atlanta area’s image as an international and global capital. Beyond providing customers, residents and visitors with a taste of home, the businesses along this busy corridor foster cross-cultural engagement and promote unity in the community.

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC

Entrepreneurship flourishes along the boulevard. Immigrant families establish businesses that contribute to the city’s local economy. From modest corner stores to established companies, these ventures embody the spirit of the American Dream, representing the hard work and determination that President Carter epitomized throughout his career.

That same ethos of hard work and determination has also been a hallmark of President Jimmy Carter’s accomplishments post-presidency. The Carter Center was founded to promote peace, fight disease, advocate for democracy and enhance freedom worldwide. For many, Jimmy Carter Boulevard has been their first taste of freedom and connectivity.

Beyond its cultural significance, Jimmy Carter Boulevard also plays a pivotal role in nurturing technological advancement in the metro Atlanta area. As urbanization swept through the region, the boulevard emerged as a hub for technology-related enterprises. Software development firms, cutting-edge startups and visionary entrepreneurs flocked to the area in search of opportunities in the tech sector. Western Electric, Bell Labs and Lucent called Jimmy Carter Boulevard home at one point and innovative new businesses continue to move to the area.

Proximity to key technology and research centers, including Technology Park in Peachtree Corners, has further propelled technological progress along Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Collaborative workspaces and business parks, networking events and innovative initiatives have succeeded in creating an environment conducive to developing the technology sector in Georgia. This expansion not only generates job opportunities but establishes the region as a vibrant tech ecosystem that attracts talent from all over the globe and reaffirms its diverse charm. In addition, the area is home to two major movie studio complexes and is a major logistics hub.

Jimmy Carter Boulevard personifies President Carter’s enduring values and exceptional leadership. It exemplifies the transformative power at the crossroads of inclusivity, entrepreneurship and technological innovation and serves as an exemplary reminder that embracing diversity and harnessing the power of technology creates a brighter future for all.

Emory Morsberger is CEO of the Morsberger Group and founder of HelpingUkraine.us.