(Riverside, California; Tuesday, January 21, 2015) "Don’t believe in a God? You are not alone."
These words, superimposed over an image of a mountain sunrise, appear on a prominent billboard near Riverside, California. This marks the formal launch of the Inland Empire Coalition of Reason (Inland Empire CoR). Inland Empire CoR represents an alliance of seven nontheistic (atheist, freethinker humanist, skeptic and agnostic) groups. The participating organizations are:
* Victor Valley Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptical Thinkers (VAAST)
* Secular Women of Greater Riverside
* Official Secular Student Alliance at University of California–Riverside
* Inland Empire Atheists and Agnostics
* Greater Riverside Skeptics Forum
* Greater Riverside Secular Cinema
* Secular Students Alliance of Riverside City College
The billboard has been made possible with over $6,500 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR), headquartered in Washington DC, along with generous donations from the local area. The 18 to 48 foot tall billboard will be up for four weeks. The billboard is also illuminated at night. The billboard has been placed as follows:
* Interstate 215, .2 miles south of Interstate 10 junction, in Colton.
For hi-res images, free for media use, see the right sidebar.
This campaign is part of a coordinated nationwide program that began in 2009. From then to now, 62 similar campaigns have been launched in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Each local campaign is sponsored by a multi-organizational coalition of nontheistic groups in the area.
"The point of our national awareness effort is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States," explained UnitedCoR’s Executive Director, national coordinator of UnitedCoR. "Nontheists sometimes don't realize there's a community for them because they're inundated with theistic messages at every turn. So we hope our effort will serve as a beacon and let them know they aren't alone."
Reaching out to the like-minded isn't the only goal of the effort. "We want people to know that nontheistic folks like us are a regular part of communities all over the area," added Jan Goings, coordinator for Inland Empire CoR. "Nontheists are your friends and neighbors, your coworkers and family members. Our non-theistic community focuses on service, and we care deeply about bringing justice and help to others: being good without a god."
Some of the cooperating groups within Inland Empire CoR were initially part of Orange County CoR. "We are proud of our non-theistic friends and colleagues in Riverside, as they have been part of Orange County CoR since we launched a few years ago," said Bruce Gleason, coordinator for Orange County CoR. "We are honored and excited to have helped contribute to the growth and expansion of the non-theistic community in another part of California, and we look forward to groups that are grown from Inland Empire CoR."
"Being visible is important to us," Heap concluded, "because in our society non-theistic people often don't know many others like themselves."
This campaign is the latest in a nationwide effort. Previous campaigns have been launched in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
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The Inland Empire Coalition of Reason (www.inlandempirecor.org) is a resource for freethinking people, uniting the various nontheistic groups throughout Riverside, San California and surrounding areas.
The Orange County Coalition of Reason (www.orangecor.org) is a resource for freethinking people, uniting fourteen non-theistic groups throughout Orange County.
The United Coalition of Reason (www.UnitedCoR.org) works to raise the visibility and sense of unity among local groups in the community of reason by providing funding and expertise to help groups cooperate toward common goals.
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For more information contact:
Inland Empire Coalition of Reason
Inland Empire Coalition of Reason
Orange County Coalition of Reason