We were founded in 2009 as a 501(c)(3) health advocacy organization called “Alabama First.” We changed our name to Gasp in 2010 to honor a student-led group called G.A.S.P. — the Greater Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution that was formed made up of young activists, health professionals, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Jefferson County Department of Health, and even elected officials.
In 1971, Birmingham’s air pollution created a public health crisis. Despite passage of the Clean Air Act, the state of Alabama was not enforcing the new law. G.A.S.P. began to advocate for clean air policies and organized protests around the city. They held a week long “Right to Live Rally” to coincide with the first Earth Day in April 1970. Our name inspires us to be a voice for all Alabamians’ right to breathe healthy air.
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Kirsten has been with Gasp from the very beginning as a founding board member, then as a part-time executive director, and now as outreach director. Kirsten hopes future generations will inherit a healthy Alabama where clean air and water are valued and protected.
Michael joined Gasp in 2013. He has lived in Birmingham since 2008, and is an active member of the Birmingham community. He’s a passionate advocate for health equity, civil rights and equality. He is currently serving as executive director.
Haley joined Gasp in 2014 as our programs manager and was named staff attorney in 2016. She has a B.A. from George Washington University, J.D. from Cumberland School of Law and a master’s in public administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Rev. Mark Johnston
Erin Thacker, PhD
🌤 We believe every Alabamian has the right to breathe clean air.
🌤 We believe your health should be the first priority when considering policies that affect our community’s air quality.
🌤 We believe elected officials and regulators have a moral obligation to protect public health and act as stewards of our natural resources.
🌤 We believe that a person’s ZIP code, race, or socioeconomic status shouldn’t determine whether or not they can live a healthy life.
Become a Member
Join our fight for clean air and healthy communities by making a tax-deductible contribution today. Become a sustaining member with a recurring monthly donation.
A G.A.S.P. for Clean Air
Watch our award-winning 2011 documentary about the original G.A.S.P. group that activated and fought toxic air pollution in the 1970s. Our name honors those predecessors and inspires us to create change today.