John the Baptist Blvd is a grass roots, community driven movement founded in Jacksonville, Florida and gaining popularity across the country.
The men behind this movement are John D. Arwood, President of Arwood Site Services, a nationwide waste management and site services businesses and Toney Sleiman, CEO and President of Sleiman Enterprises, Inc., one of Florida’s largest privately held real estate companies.
Eye reached out to the founders and asked a simple question, “Why?”
They replied, “Watching the movement to change the names of schools, observing the tearing down of monuments and seeing politicians painting streets with slogans, we felt it was time for a positive message to happen on the streets. The atmosphere in America is so negative and we believe as a person drives on John the Baptist Blvd. they will feel a sense of renewal and peace in their lives. We both felt John the Baptist was the perfect person to name a street after because he is respected in all religions. John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher, was the forerunner to Christianity and was considered a prophet in Islam. He is the perfect person to cross the lines of ministry and help restore positivity on our streets.”
Their plan is to petition the city of Jacksonville to rename Beach Blvd. to John the Baptist Blvd. Again Eye asked, “Why Beach Blvd.?”
Both men thoughtfully considered which road would be best to change and they realized the road leading to the biggest body of water – the Atlantic Ocean – is Beach Blvd.
They thought it was the perfect road to petition for this change because John the Baptist’s ministry was all about water baptism. John even baptized Jesus just before Jesus started his ministry.
John the Baptist also spoke of better things to come and he called for all mankind to reflect on their wrongdoings and shortcomings and strive to do better and be better. He died a martyr simply because he was not afraid to speak the truth to both political and religious leaders.
Their hope is that as people drive down John the Baptist Blvd. they will reflect on the man it is named after and decide to be more like him. They can also use the road to teach their children about sin, standing up for what you believe in and reaching to greater heights as a human being on this earth.
We at Eye think this is a grand idea because we believe all men and women need to do what they can to affect change for the better in their community. A simple name change just might change the city and maybe the nation — one street at a time.
Who knows if it will help but it certainly can’t hurt to try out the idea through legal channels and with community support.
If you would like to be a part of renaming Beach Blvd. to John the Baptist Blvd. you can sign the petition here