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Atlanta according to Shawn Deangelo Walton

The West End nonprofit CEO and community leader talks slammin’ pancakes, pedaling through the AUC, and Andre 3000’s life-saving lyrics

Shawn Walton Magnum
Photo credit: Courtesy Shawn Walton

On most days, Shawn Deangelo Walton can be found mentoring neighborhood kids and teens at WeCycle Atlanta, the nonprofit in West End he created to empower youth and teach them about responsibility and sustainability. When he’s not there, you can find the 30-year-old Ashview Heights resident pedaling around the city and helping boost other people’s causes. Some time in there, the urban farming enthusiast and Morehouse College graduate finds time to sleep.

Something I know about Atlanta that nobody else knows is that Andre 3000 verses saved souls of black misguided youth.

Up and down the Atlanta University Center Promenade is the best place to ride a bicycle in Atlanta.

Miriam Archibong — she’s been my bestie for 15 years and I’m so proud of her! — is my favorite living Atlantan. She’s been a pivotal leader in high school at Grady, college at Spelman, Harvard, and Penn State Law. We became friends as 15- and 14-year-old youths in the NAACP. She’s been helpful to me and others and she’s a born leader. It’s awesome to see and watch her grow, and us grow together.

The Atlanta of the future is still filled with black excellence.

Malcolm X/West End Park’s Tree Area is my favorite nature spot in Atlanta.

The best advice I could give an Atlanta visitor is if you don’t like where I stay FLY AWAY.

D Cafe is Atlanta’s best-kept secret. Devotis, the owner and chef, is an awesome person who cooks awesome food. She also employs youth to keep them around a positive environment. Devotis is very active in nourishing the soul of West Atlanta communities. Plus, the pancakes are SLAMMIN’! She’s damn near everyone’s auntie and I love her warm and welcoming spirit.

West End is my favorite neighborhood. It is my favorite community because of its potential to solve national problems in gentrification, equity, and social justice. I just pray to see it do so. I’m doing my part.

Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel is my favorite building.

Gallery 992 is the best place to hear music in Atlanta. Shoutout to Kebbi Williams and The Wolf Pack! #MusicInThePark

Atlanta’s dedication to promoting civil rights, but not enforcing its principles or laws is the weirdest thing about Atlanta.

I decided to make Atlanta home because shit ... It’s all I know. And I have to make sure this city doesn’t lose its humanitarian heart, too. It’s been slipping lately.