50 States United for Healthy Air: 2013 Event

Everyone has the right to breathe clean, healthy air.

We are 50 States United for Healthy Air: doctors, nurses, clergy, tribal leaders, parents and concerned citizens. And we are tired of our bodies and our environment being used as the dumping grounds for dirty industry.

Clean Air Ambassadors went to Washington, D.C.
to ask our elected officials for something very simple:
restore our right to breathe clean air.
We are calling for strong standards to clean our air and limit
coal ash, air pollution, and carbon pollution.

What is it?

Coal ash is the leftover waste from coal-fired power plants. It is filled with toxic metals and is poisoning air and water supplies all across America.

What is it?

The health impacts of air pollutants like ozone and soot are well documented—children wheezing with asthma, serious diseases such as cancer, and even premature death.

What is it?

Carbon pollution is a major driver of climate change, which threatens our health, livelihood and security from extreme weather, rising sea levels and other dangerous impacts.

Find Your Ambassadors by State:

Barbara Evans
Burkville, Alabama
Rev. Gregory Williams
Fairfield, Alabama
Rev. Michael Oleksa
Anchorage, Alaska
Russell Maddox
Seward, Alaska
Marshall Johnson
Kykotsmovi, Arizona
Nicole Horseherder
Kykotsmovi, Arizona
Malik Saafir
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Phillip Bautista, RN
Madera, California
Jane Williams
Rosamond, California
Davey D
Oakland, California
Carlos Pelayo
Chula Vista, California
Robin Kristufek, RN
Sacramento, California
Eric Alfaro
Woodland, California
Jesse Marquez
Wilmington, California
Eloy Garduno
Lakewood, Colorado
Michael Kosnett, MD, MPH
Denver, Colorado
Rev. Stephanie Johnson
New Haven, Connecticut
Tiana Ocasio
New Haven, Connecticut
Ann Darwicki, RN
Smyrna, Delaware
Amy Roe
Newark, Delaware
Gwendolyn Hunnicutt
District of Columbia
Maria Johnson
District of Columbia
Chancee' Lundy
District of Columbia
Asa Sealy
Aventura, Florida
Victor Sanchez
Sanford, Florida
Marybeth Dunn
Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
Krystin McCauley
Lithonia, Georgia
Rev. Reginald G. Barnes, Sr.
Atlanta, Georgia
Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley
East Point, Georgia
Bernadette Mae Longo
Gary Payton
Sandpoint, Idaho
Rev. Terrence Gallagher
Aurora, Illinois
Brian Urbaszewski
Chicago, Illinois
Burundi Partlow
Chicago, Illinois
Rafael Hurtado, Jr.
Chicago, Illinois
Cathi Murray
Town of Pines, Indiana
Denise Abdul-Rahman
Indianapolis, Indiana
T. Wyatt Watkins
Indianapolis, Indiana
Elizabeth Lord-Dinan
Elkader, Iowa
Erin Flory Robertson
Kathy Little
Louisville, Kentucky
Wyatt Little
Louisville, Kentucky
Sess 4-5
New Orleans, Louisiana
Paul Perkins
Bath, Maine
Henry S. Cole, Ph.D.
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Frederick Tutman
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Cindy Parker, MD
Baltimore, Maryland
Stephanie Maddin
Baltimore, Maryland
Maura A. Flynn, RN
Maynard, Massachusetts
Barbara Darling Smith
Boston, Massachusetts
Susan E. Harley
East Lansing, Michigan
LaRonn Harris
Detroit, Michigan
Robert Ramirez
Dearborn, Michigan
Sylvia Perez
Lori Ann Thompson
Gulfport, Mississippi
Patricia Schuba
Labadie, Missouri
Linda F. Hezel
Kearney, Missouri
Sharon Sweeney Fee, Ph.D.
Livingston, Montana
Georgia Milan, MD
Missoula, Montana
Chandran Achutan, Ph.D.
Omaha, Nebraska
Vickie Simmons
Moapa, Nevada
Thomas Chagnon
New Hampshire
Caitlin Peale
Swanzey, New Hampshire
Robert Harper, Jr.
Jersey City, New Jersey
Theodore Carrington
Princeton, New Jersey
Laurel M. Linden, Ph.D.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Colleen Cooley
Farmington, New Mexico
Tradell Hawkins
New York, New York
David Galarza
New York, New York
Alan Lockwood, MD
Buffalo, New York
Sam Perkins
Charlotte, North Carolina
Terence Muhammad
Greensboro, North Carolina
Brandi N. Williams, APR
Huntersville, North Carolina
Dr. James H. Henderson
Clayton, North Carolina
Laurel A. Jones
Bowdon, North Dakota
Peggy Ann Berry
Dayton, Ohio
Susan Tullai-McGuinness, Ph.D.
Painesville, Ohio
Julie Weatherington-Rice, Ph.D.
Worthington, Ohio
Tyiesha Radford
Gahanna, Ohio
Susan K. Holmes
Bokoshe, Oklahoma
Scott Tetz, RN
Portland, Oregon
Susan Frances Katz, MD
Portland, Oregon
Rev. Robyn Hartwig
Portland, Oregon
Nina Maria Kaktins
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Tyree Dumas
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Robert Schmetzer
South Heights, Pennsylvania
Angelica Abreu Fontanez
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Ruth Santiago
Salinas, Puerto Rico
Sylvia Weber, RN
Cranston, Rhode Island
Rev. Michael McClain
Columbia, South Carolina
Thomas Richard Poor Bear
Wanblee, South Dakota
Andre Gibson
Memphis, Tennessee
Sarah McCoin
Harriman, Tennessee
Rev. James C. Billings
Morristown, Tennessee
Katharina Hathaway, MD
Austin, Texas
Jacqueline Smith
Hilton Kelley
Port Arthur, Texas
Pastor Jeffrey Louden
Park City, Utah
Richard Hibbert
Burlington, Vermont
Aimee Lassiter, RN
Williamsburg, Virginia
Roscoe Lewis
Alexandria, Virginia
Rev. Jeanette Johnson
Richmond, Virginia
Jasmine Andrews
Hampton, Virginia
Jeanette Andrews
Hampton, Virginia
Sylvia Ridgeway
Huntington, West Virginia
Betty Koepsel, MSN, RN
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Karen Schapiro
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Katy Walter
Madison, Wisconsin
Rev. Warren Murphy
Cody, Wyoming

We are sitting ducks for coal ash, power plants and other environmental disasters, forced to have this pollution in our communities.

I am motivated because of my role as a church leader and those who are in the minority. I am inspired by our forefathers and foremothers who fought injustice.

By invoking God's blessing upon our own rivers, lakes and seas, we reaffirm the essential holiness of all that God has made and blessed and given to us as His stewards—not to abuse the world, but to protect it as a sacred duty.

With my hometown in Alaska being the only operating coal export facility on the west coast of the United States, I have been working diligently to help the great Northwest avoid a similar fate.

As Indigenous Nations, we must also ensure that the decisions our governments make don't adversely impact the livelihood of our indigenous brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.

Clean air is a gift from the creator.

I grew up with asthma and other connected respiratory problems. I know first-hand how air impacts the quality of life for those struggling to breathe.

The ability to inhale a deep breath of fresh air should not be limited based on where you live.

Clean air is important to me because I see it as a basic human right that has been eroded by our modern society. We can't continue to let our children die.

We want our community to stop being dumping grounds for corporate interests.

I work to bring together a diversity of environmental activists and organizations, including from below the U.S.-Mexico border, to establish a region-wide agenda to work against environmental degradation.

We need to respect all forms of energy and be aware of the downsides of each … If we are sincere about clean air, we must focus on changing our dominant modes of transportation.

The quality of the environment we live in affects the quality of our lives.

Clean air is enjoying a day without menacing fire and black smoke clouds.

It is an honor to participate in this movement, and help make a difference not just in my community but my country surrounding an issue which is near and dear to my heart.

The public health significance of the health risk posed by arsenic and its presence in coal ash merits its close regulation on the federal level by EPA.

We encourage our faith communities to respond in a variety of ways to the growing threat of climate change, including creative carbon footprint reduction projects.

It is in our interest and in the best interest of our members to be on the forefront of the battle towards a healthier environment for us all.

My deep belief is that a polluted environment doesn't discriminate. We are all affected on some level by the diseases attributable to pollution.

It's not just one state's fight or experience that I'll be relaying—it's the experience of all who everyday deal with the effects of polluted air across the country and in the world.

This community is rich in history and committed to our community.

Clean air is essential for my mom and the elderly to have quality of life.

If we all realize the importance of environmental stewardship, we could prevent the many health complications that result from breathing polluted air—and actually save lives … We must all do our part.

Having a society full of people with heart and respiratory issues does not make for a very productive nation.

It is time to go green and save the climate!

The evidence is there, we know that these chemicals are bad for the environment and bad for human health. It's time to do something about it.

No child should have to suffer a health aliment that could be avoided if adults made responsible environmental decisions.

My wife Shonda and I are the parents of two children, Amand and Gary. I am a called and committed servant of Christ.

With so many economic and social issues already impending, clean air should be a given. This is an issue which transcends political parties, because it negatively impacts us all.

As a nurse epidemiologist, I study the health effects from exposure to various types of air pollution.

Coal dust, diesel exhaust and potential derailment are all present threats to our citizens, air quality, water quality, and environment.

In response to the escalating double edged global crisis of unsustainable economics and ecological destruction, I focus my ministry efforts in serving the greater society through faith-based, social justice advocacy and education.

We work to defend the right to breathe clean air by supporting implementation of Clean Air Act programs, working to get strong air quality standards based on science and ensuring clean air regulations are followed.

I want to leave a better world for all of those impacted by pollution and help us all develop a fighting chance to breathe and live to the most of our capabilities.

I've been involved with LVEJO since high school and have worked to educate people about environmental justice and the harmful effects of polluting industries in Little Village.

As adults, we must lead by example so our younger generations understand that when we protect our environment, we help to ensure a better quality of life for ourselves and future generations.

I live within Indianapolis, and to the north of where I live is a gas plant that smells strongly of sulfur dioxide. My community and my family seem to be breathing toxic pollution everywhere we go.

I am spurred on in my commitments by a faith conviction of the earth's intrinsic worth, the needs of the most vulnerable who suffer first and most as climate changes, the health of the planet.

As a farmer's daughter, I saw my father suffer health problems from being buried in the corn bin. He lived, but had chronic obstructive lung disease and heart problems thereafter.

Children deserve to experience a world that is healthy, diverse, and full of life. And, as stewards of God's creation, we must care for all aspects of our environment, as well.

Every child in my community is in danger, not just from the thick coal ash that covers everything, but also the high hazard ash pond just 50 yards from my home that might breach.

Clean air is everyone's responsibility.

For my future and the future of my kids, doing my part to keep as much pollution out of the air is very important to me. But Congress and President Obama have to do their part, too.

It is our grandchildren who may pay the price of denial and inaction … Humans [must] recognize the adverse impact of burning fossil fuels and to curb consumption before we reach irrevocable tipping points.

My work involves providing scientific support to local organizations for their work to improve the health and sustainability of their communities.

My family has lived in Maryland since the 1700's … Coal emissions and air deposition have contributed to a decline in air quality and contributed to respiratory problems among communities in the region.

The concern for public health—our own, our children's and our loved ones—is one of the few values that reaches across the political spectrum. Strategies to improve health can appeal to all.

Living throughout the Mid-Atlantic, I've experienced a wide variance in air quality. Everyone can't pick up and move. That's why I care about clean air and professionally dedicate my time to the cause.

My grandchildren live in a county that has the second to worst air quality in the state, so this issue and my mission becomes even more important on a personal level.

People of all faiths and people of no particular faith are calling for our senators to do the right thing—to work toward clean air for all of us and for future generations.

Some pollution is so pervasive that all of us are exposed to hazardous levels, such as the soot from diesel vehicles we breathe during our daily commutes.

Detroit is the motor capitol of the world, with plenty of car manufacturing plants and a commuter city where most adults don't use public transportation. Clean air is a silent but deadly quality of life concern.

Congress needs to take a stronger stand and not let the corporations keep polluting our air for profits. I am blessed to be in D.C. and share our experience on fighting for clean air and doing this together.

I want to do my part by letting communities of color know how important this is for our children and their children to have clean air to breathe.

It's time for Congress and the Administration to stop being motivated by the dollar and remember that the lives of people are more important than industry.

We deserve clean air and safe drinking water. We deserve monitoring around all sites and cleanup of unsafe sites … I hope to share stories of resilience and hope from the heartland.

I am committed to educating others about the importance of defending the health of ecosystems for future generations. To ignore science is to selfishly doom our descendants to an inferior quality of life.

I live in Montana—I see people who have spent their lives trying to get here to see the beauty. I just have to look out my door to see what can be lost if we don't act.

Our legislative leaders need to understand the sources of our air pollution and their health consequences. They need to understand the true financial burden of our current energy policies and who is profiting from them.

I am inspired by the entire environmental community, locally and nationally, including grassroots organizations, who all work hard to promote a better society for all, and I am proud to represent Nebraska.

It's hard for people to breathe; too many have asthma in our tribe. The tribe has so many complaints that have gone unaddressed, because profits continue to be placed before people.

I want my children to be able to fish in the local river for one and I want the air they breathe, and the air their children breathe and so on, to be as clean as possible.

As a New Hampshire native, preventing asthma, heart disease, and other health problems caused or exacerbated by coal plant pollution in New Hampshire holds a special place in my heart.

I have worked in the area of environmental justice for many years, using my camera to document and raise awareness of the many toxic problems that exist in New Jersey.

I work with students at Central High School in Newark, New Jersey. The students take air samples in community locations near the school and analyze particulate matter and black carbon.

Since I moved here in 1996, I have witnessed the deterioration of the air quality and an increase in health related issues such as allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems.

We connect with all these things in our environment in one form or another and we want to protect and preserve the Diné way of life.

If it is we who have destroyed the environment, it is we who need to salvage it!

I will come to Washington, D.C. to learn, recharge and fight for my mom and others who still live in neighborhoods throughout the United States like Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

As the long-time co-chair of PSR's Environment and Health Committee, I have become increasingly aware of the hazards posed by air pollution.

This is where I grew up, and when I completed graduate school in Chapel Hill studying rivers and climate, I wanted to come home to protect the heart of the Carolinas.

Clean air is extremely important to me because it may sound simple, but I need it to breathe. It's not that complicated for me. Or really for anybody else. We need it to live.

I want to be able to fight for change to help the health of our community. More than that, I want to make sure we take care of our environment for future generations.

Air, water, and environmental pollution have had a drastic impact upon the morbidity and mortality of the poor and minority in the eastern part of North Carolina.

We may not be able to do everything, but we can do something, and each thing we do counts.

Clean air is necessary for life and good health. That's why I'm kicking my concerns upstairs to national leaders and I will NOT be quiet when I see a safety and health concern.

I am a registered nurse and grandmother, and air quality became personal to me when two of my grandchildren, who live in northeast Ohio, were diagnosed with asthma.

Outdoor air quality has always been a problem in Ohio, aided by our coal-fired power plants. Now, we have air pollution from shale gas drilling as well.

As a Clean Air Ambassador, I am determined to advocate for Ohioans and equip other state residents so that they can effectively advocate on their own behalf.

It's time my congressman stood up for the people, not just the industry in his state. It's time all of our representatives nationwide stood up for us and not the coal companies that are making us sick.

Oregonians are known for their love of the outdoors, I am proud to be able to carry this torch on their behalf and advocate for the protection of our air supply.

I came to this work out of deep concern for the increasing prevalence of neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Because air does not respect state or national borders, everybody is affected when toxins are spewed into the air.

Local asthma prevalence in elementary schoolchildren was reported at almost twice the national average. This is unacceptable! Our children should not have to sacrifice their health for our energy needs.

My inspiration is the hundreds of thousands of youth I serve throughout the world. It is very unfair for them to be brought up in unsafe conditions.

All of our present energy sources have waste products that carry trailing maintenance costs for generations. Most are stored in headwaters for drinking purposes. It's a bad idea that has to change.

Since I was a little girl, I have had the urge to protect the environment … I have come to realize how our actions are destroying our planet, this unique and fragile system.

We have been involved in the establishment of broad alliances with commercial, tourism and agricultural sectors to prevent water pollution from coal combustion residuals.

As a nurse, I see on a daily basis the harm created by our toxic environment—not only to people, but to all of life.

It just makes sense that we all need and should have clear and safe air to breath. After all, it is a moral right.

Because of my culture, as a Lakota man, we've always looked at protecting our mother earth and the air that we breathe.

We could be doing so much more to ensure cleaner air and a healthier environment for our citizens.

When elected officials are politically motivated and not safety motivated, the general public and nature are the victims. It's time for the administration and EPA to start listening and act—instead of listening and doing nothing.

I pastor in an area where air pollution seems to be somewhat greater due to the industrialization—it's an area filled with manufacturing plants.

When I take my family to run, bike, and play outside, I want to know that the air they breathe isn't harmful to them. I want us all to be able to see clearly all the beauty that surrounds us.

When I listened to the concerns of residents, I heard air quality complaints about dust, flares, odor and traffic. All of these issues are legitimate concerns and should be addressed by regulatory agencies and Congress.

One out of every five households in the low income, people of color community here in Port Arthur, Texas, has a child that is suffering with asthma and other contaminated air related illnesses and we are sick of it.

The air we breathe (and pollute) is a good way to "air" the conversation about how we shall live and how we shall say 'yes' to the world and its health, and 'no' to ourselves.

My faith taught me that humans are called to be stewards of the earth and its resources. Over the years, it has become increasingly clear that our behavior has been detrimental to the environment and, consequently, to our own well-being.

Virginia is home to many industries that support the livelihood and quality of life of its residents, but it should not come at the cost of our health.

I've always been involved in some way with environmental work, from nagging my friends not to litter, to promoting the use of the recycling bin at school and events.

I believe that all deserve to enter a world in which care has been taken with their arrival in mind; a world where they have the highest possible opportunity to succeed physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

People around me are dying and I am going to continue to be a living witness and fight Dominion Virginia Power in their practices that are threatening the lives and health of my family and my community.

It's becoming clearer everyday that the old ways of doing things are not working. Coal and nuclear power are not the answer.

Despite our stunning scenery and a strong ethic of environmentalism and outdoor-ism, our level of air pollution from diesel particulate matter is very high.

My son has chronic asthma and has attacks each time he travels from California to Huntington.

The EPA enforces the Clean Air Act and we need to support, not diminish their ability to protect citizens. It is important to me that our zipcodes do not determine our air quality and our health.

Lives should not be cut short from pollution in this day and age, but the sad truth is that far too many people still suffer and die because of it.

Climate change is happening: We are responsible for it, the consequences will be dire, and we need to stop it.

We work to provide a faith perspective to better protect the air, water, and lands of our earthly environment.

Recent Messages

Take Action!

Air pollution doesn't recognize borders, ethnicity, or class. Our breathing is a bipartisan issue, upon which all political parties should agree. Contact your senators today!

The Op-Ed

In an editorial published on Huffington Post, the 50 States United partnering groups collectively call for action on climate and support for carbon pollution controls for power plants.

Read: Our Shared Stake in Clean Air, Livable Climate

Twitter: #right2breathe

Instagram: #right2breathe

    About The Event

    50 States United for Healthy Air, held during May 13–16, 2013, is a citizens lobbying event bringing together more than a hundred concerned members of the public from all fifty states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to Washington, D.C.

    The 2013 event is coordinated in partnership with the American Nurses Association (ANA), Earthjustice, Hip Hop Caucus, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Council of Churches (NCC), National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC) and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).

    A 50 States United for Healthy Air event was held on
    May 2–5, 2011.