Billboards Link Past, Present for Black Atheists
The Dallas/Fort Worth Coalition of Reason (DFWCoR), an umbrella organization supporting local grassroots secular organizations, in collaboration with African Americans for Humanism (AAH), began its participation in a new billboard campaign today to highlight black atheists, humanists, and freethinkers from history and in the present-day. Additional AAH billboards are launching simultaneously in New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Raleigh-Durham.
Alix Jules, Assistant Coordinator of the DFWCoR and Chair of its Diversity Council, also serves on the Speakers Bureau for AAH and is featured on the Dallas billboard alongside Harlem Renaissance poet and freethinker Langston Hughes. "Growing up, it was very difficult for me to try to find God," Jules says. "I would feel broken when I would see people catching the spirit and hearing voices I couldn't hear. The more time I spent praying and studying the Bible, the fewer answers I found. Eventually I realized that I just didn't buy it anymore."
Jules noted that as a former believer, he has dealt with the pain of rejection from family and friends. "I don't have an extended biological family anymore. But the DFWCoR is an inclusive organization, so even though many people don't look like me, they accept me and my doubts. Now I feel like I have family again."
Jules was motivated to become active as a black nonbeliever after attending the inaugural AAH conference in 2010. "I decided that I wasn't going to be a token black person anymore. Since then, I've put myself out there, and despite threats of backlash from the religious community, it's important to show my children that they can find lifelong friends without having to submit to judgmental communities of superstitious belief."
The Dallas billboard campaign will run on South Thornton Freeway, Southbound on Illinois for four weeks beginning today, February 6th.
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The Dallas/Fort Worth Coalition of Reason is a community of nontheistic groups in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that works to raise the public profile of and cooperation among all such local organizations.
African Americans for Humanism supports skeptics, doubters, humanists, and atheists in the African American community, provides forums for communication and education, and facilitates coordinated action to achieve shared objectives.
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For more information contact:
Group Celebrates Black Atheists With Controversial Billboard by Andrea Lucia CBSDFW
Atheist Billboard Headed to Dallas by Doug Magditch KDEF-TV
African Americans for Humanism to put up atheism billboard in Dallas by Terry Evans, Star-Telegram
Coming to a South Dallas Billboard: A Celebration of Black Atheists & Freethinkers by Anna Merlan, Dallas Observer Blogs
Black Nonbelievers Speak Out - CFI Press Release