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I came to Washington, D.C. for my grandchildren and their right to inherit clean air and water. I want to help prepare them for the world, but I also want to prepare the world for them—which means working hard to make sure they grow up with a healthy environment.

I live in the poorest part of Alabama, known as Alabama’s Black Belt. The name works two ways: though technically named for the soil, the region is home to the highest concentration of Black folk in the state. It’s also the preferred destination for power plants, dumps and chemical plants. We fight this environmental racism every day.

Uniontown, AL, in Perry County, became the dumping ground for the coal ash from the disastrous Tennessee Valley Authority spill. That coal ash had a major impact on the community. People stopped planting gardens that they used to grow for to feed themselves because coal ash covered everything. Now, folks are afraid to drink the water. They have no political power to fight back and while millions are spent recruiting corporations to Alabama, nothing is spent on health care for the coal ash victims. What’s worse, nobody seems to care—certainly not most elected officials. In a region that led the struggle for voting rights, sacrificing everything, the warriors are repaid with environmental destruction and health problems. I am fighting to make things right.

Clean Air Ambassador | Burkville, Alabama

Barbara Evans

Perry County Alabama, specifically Uniontown, is the home to the vestiges of the December 2008 coal ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee. It is located right across the road from a low income Black community. While lawsuits rage over Tennessee and money is flowing, there's been no help on health issues for the people who breathe coal ash daily in the community that is now bearing the burden of the Kingston spill.

Uniontown and Perry County are part of Alabama's Black Belt, home to a majority of both African Americans and the lowest income areas in Alabama. We are sitting ducks for coal ash, power plants and other environmental disasters, forced to have this pollution in our communities. We resent that because we are poor and have limited resources we are constant victims of environmental racism.

Blackbelt Citizens Fighting for Health & Justice have organized bi-racial organizations who are organizing around our common goal of getting rid of the coal ash and the dump. Meanwhile, our state legislature has categorized coal ash as household waste state-wide and is allowing it in every household waste dump in the state. This destruction of our community has got to stop.

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

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.