Our Story

Our mission is to advance healthy air and environmental justice in the greater-Birmingham area through education, advocacy, and collaboration.

Our mission is to advance healthy air & environmental justice in the greater-Birmingham area through education, advocacy, and collaboration.

Our Story

Gasp was formed in 2009 as Alabama First, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In 2011, Alabama First’s board of directors changed the organization’s name to Gasp in tribute to a previous group called G.A.S.P.

In the early 1970s, Alabama industries and governments resisted complying with the newly passed Clean Air Act. Dangerous air conditions in Birmingham motivated young activists, public health professionals, UAB, and elected officials to form the Greater Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution — also known as “G.A.S.P.” That group advocated for clean air policies, organized protests, and held a week-long “Right to Live Rally” to coincide with Earth Day. G.A.S.P. was critical to forcing industry to recognize the new Clean Air Act.

Birmingham’s air quality has improved since 1970, but it is far from healthy. It’s no coincidence that Alabama’s largest metro has some of the nation’s dirtiest air and that our state ranks near the bottom of an array of health and economic statistics.

That’s why today, Gasp strives to reduce air pollution, to educate the public on the health risks associated with poor air quality and to encourage community leaders to serve as role models for clean air and clean energy development. Everyone has a right to breathe clean air.

Follow us on social media

Our Values

🌤 Every Alabamian has the right to breathe clean air.

🌤 Health should be a top priority for lawmakers, regulators, and businesses.

🌤 Clean, renewable energy is essential to a healthy, just, and sustainable Alabama.

🌤 All levels of government must be transparent and accountable to the people of Alabama.

🌤 Alabamians deserve the opportunity to live a healthy life no matter their race, ZIP code, or socioeconomic status.

🌤 Elected officials and regulators have a moral duty to protect public health and act in Alabama’s long-term best interest.

Staff

Michael Hansen

Michael Hansen

Executive Director

Haley Lewis

Haley Lewis

Staff Attorney

Kirsten Bryant

Kirsten Bryant

Outreach Director

Board of Directors

Charline Whyte

Charline Whyte

President

Richard Rice

Richard Rice

Vice-President

Dr. Michelle Fanucchi

Dr. Michelle Fanucchi

Treasurer

William Blackerby

William Blackerby

Secretary

Nelson Brooke

Nelson Brooke

Founder/Past President

Dr. Shauntice Allen

Dr. Shauntice Allen

At-large member

Dr. Bertha Hidalgo

Dr. Bertha Hidalgo

At-large member

Rev. Mark Johnston

Rev. Mark Johnston

Founder/At-large member

Karen Shepard

Karen Shepard

At-large member

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.