Our Story

Rev. Anthony Motley (right) and John Gordon look at a mural painted on the plywood of the boarded-up house where Kathyrn Johnston, 92, was killed by Atlanta police in 2006.  Courtesy Curtis Compton, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution

On November 21st of 2006, Atlanta Police executed a fraudulent search warrant on the home of 92 year old English Avenue resident, Kathryn Johnston.  Ms. Johnston was shot and killed in this botched drug raid, and the three former police officers involved in the incident are now serving their prison sentences.  Ms. Johnston’s unjustified death illuminated the issues of poverty and crime in the English Avenue Community, located blocks away from major tourism such as Georgia Tech, the Georgia Dome, and Coca-Cola.

Atlanta businessman, John Gordon, saw an opportunity to fill Ms. Johnston’s life with lasting 071126193726_ohayerjohnston1126[1]meaning.  He teamed up with Reverend Anthony Motley, a minister in English Avenue for over 30 years, to provide resources and hope to a community in dire economic and social straights.  While Gordon and Motley are on opposite sides of the social spectrum, the tragedy of Ms. Johnston brought these two unlikely forces together to form a friendship that permeates racial and social barriers.  Together, they have forged friendships with community leaders and residents, and declared the belief that we, as a community, can make a difference.

Since the Friends of English Avenue, Inc. became incorporated in April of 2009, they have spearheaded beautification/clean-up, crime reduction, and green-space development initiatives that have significantly impacted English Avenue residents, and the community as a whole.  Our mission is to make English Avenue a safer and better place to live, improving our broader community of Atlanta.  Learn more about our past and current projects under the “Projects” tab on this website.

John Gordon and Rev. Motley walking through the newest Elm Street Urban Farm in June 2014.

John Gordon and Rev. Motley walking through the newest Elm Street Urban Farm in June of 2014.

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