(Cleveland, November 10, 2009) "Don’t Believe In God? You are not alone."
These words are part of prominent billboard in the Cleveland area, on I-480 West, between the State Road and Ridge Road exits. It was placed by the Northeast Ohio Coalition of Reason (NEO CoR), with funding from the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR). The billboard’s message is superimposed over an image of blue sky and puffy white clouds.
For a hi-res photos of the billboard, free for media use, see the right sidebar.
This effort is part of a coordinated statewide campaign that includes similar billboards announced today in Cincinnati and Columbus. Each billboard signifies the launch of a local, multi-organizational coalition of nontheistic groups. The coordinated campaign, which is part of an even larger national effort, has the stated aim of raising awareness about people who don’t believe in a god.
"The point of our national billboard campaign is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States," explained Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. "Nontheists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community out there for them because they’re inundated with religious messages at every turn. So we hope this will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren’t alone."
The dual goals of the Northeast Ohio campaign are to organize area nontheists and help them become more visible in the community. "Our ad isn’t meant to be a slap at anyone’s religion," said Mark Tiborsky, coordinator for the Northeast Ohio Coalition of Reason. "It’s a very positive message aimed at both confirmed nontheists and those who have their doubts about religion. Our basic message is that there are people in your area who think as you do, and you can find them over here if you’re interested."
"We secularists, agnostics and atheists are essentially like everyone else," added Ray Valenti, coordinator for the Akron/Canton area. "We’re your friends, neighbors, coworkers and family members. So all we want is a place at the table for our ideas, too."
United CoR has launched ten campaigns previously this year. Each has involved a billboard or ads on public transit systems. They have appeared in places as far flung as New York, New York; Newark, New Jersey; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Charleston, South Carolina; Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; Des Moines, Iowa; Morgantown, West Virginia; New Orleans, Louisiana, and Phoenix, Arizona.
# # #
The Northeast Ohio Coalition of Reason (www.neocor.org) is a group of like-minded member organizations from across Northeast Ohio which was formed to help provide local atheists, agnostics, humanists and freethinkers with a source of information and a sense of community.
# # #
The United Coalition of Reason ( unitedcor.org ) exists to raise the visibility and sense of unity among local groups in the community of reason by providing funding and expertise to help them cooperate toward the goal of raising their public profiles.
# # #
For more information contact: