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This is a photo of my parents looking proudly at coffee beans in Puerto Rico. They taught me how to love nature and our planet. I can honestly and proudly say that I am driven to treat and love our Earth the way my parents have always treated and loved me.

Clean Air Ambassador | New York, New York

David Galarza

Working with several groups in the neighborhood as a young person were the earliest memories I have of fighting for clean air. I grew up in the shadow of the Gowanus Expressway in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The noisy, congested, soot-spewing highway physically cut us off from the rest of the neighborhood and no doubt created many generations of children and adults afflicted by asthma, other respiratory diseases and high concentrations of lead in the surrounding air and soil. Add a waste transfer station or two and a proposed sludge treatment plant on the waterfront and Sunset Park had all the toxic ingredients needed to wage a war against environmental injustice.

We stopped the sewage treatment plant, but my mom, whose chronic asthma was getting worse by the day, eventually was forced to return to her native Puerto Rico.

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. We need to remind Congress and the EPA that corporations and big business cannot and should not be allowed to dictate the quality of our air, water and environment.

When I have my five minutes with my senator, here’s what I will say: “Our mother is being battered and abused. She’s the only one we have. She loves us unconditionally and has provided us with untold rich and abundant gifts. Now she needs some love. What are you willing to do to help her regain her strength and good health?”

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.

50 States United For Healthy Air

Clean air should be a fundamental right. Air pollution causes asthma attacks, lung disease, and even death. But our bodies don't have to be the dumping ground for dirty industries.

The technology to dramatically reduce harmful air pollution is available today, and major polluters should be required to use it.

Clean Air Ambassadors from every state are sending a powerful message: Everyone has a right to breathe clean, healthy air.

It’s time Congress and the EPA used their ears to help our lungs.