Every city wants to feel that sense of community, a connection that makes its citizens feel like one big family.
The city of Norcross has established that to a degree, but considering the cultural diversity in the across Buford Highway and I-85, some extra work may be in store.
The city knows this and wants to connect the communities together. Around 50 local leaders gathered Wednesday, March 25, at the to start that process through the Norcross Together Leadership Summit.
Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, PR Manager Tixie Fowler and author Joe Kissack of "The Fourth Fisherman" gave anecdotes and presentations of what the city wants to accomplish and how the leaders in the room can work together to make those connections.
"Buford Highway is a very real dividing line, making it physically and psychologically challenging to create a sense of community, which is our goal," said Fowler at the March 21 event. "What we need to do is create an environment that makes positive results inevitable."
Some of those challenges root back to differing perceptions, she said. Social values and ethnic and economic differences clash among the cultures on both sides of Buford Highway.
Fowler explained that this is the perfect time to fix those preceptions. The Imagination Proclamation, which was made by the city years ago and was read yesterday by the mayor, gave Fowler an epiphany: It says that the community may find itself at a point where there's a way for the past and the future to intercept.
"We are at that crossroads right now," she said. "We have a phenomenal opportunity ahead of us."
Kissack, author of "The Fourth Fisherman," was also a major part and inspiration for the seminar. He talked about his inspirational novel, which tells how three Mexican fishermen were rescued after being stranded at sea for nine months and how their story changed his life with his personal struggles.
"The common thread between the fishermen's stories, and my story, [and everyone else's stories] ... is that, ultimately, we are all the same," Kissack said. "We're just trying to survive the next day."
Overall, the first summit for Norcross Together had everyone inspired and ready to hit the ground running. Many people were ready to tackle the issues of communication and developing a database for community resources, and committees were formed by the end of the summit.
Other Norcross Together events will be planned for leaders in the next few months before the final event, which will be a June festival in Lillian Webb Park.