For Immediate Release
(Fresno, CA, May 4, 2011) "Don’t believe in God? Join the Club."
These words appear on a prominent billboard in Fresno on the west side of Blackstone, just north of Saginaw and facing south. It will remain up through the Memorial Day weekend. The 14 by 48 foot billboard features the words superimposed over an image of a sunrise and is illuminated at night. It has been placed by the Central Valley Coalition of Reason (Valley CoR) with $5,176.00 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR).
This ad campaign also marks the public launch of Valley CoR, a coalition made up of three Central Valley freethought groups with activities ranging from social to educational to activist.
The Fresno billboard is also part of a larger effort. Others have been announced this week in Stockton, Modesto (Ripon) and Orange County, California. And since the spring of 2009 there have been similar ad campaigns in Sacramento and San Diego as well as in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.
"The point of our ongoing nationwide awareness campaign is to reach out to the millions of atheists and agnostics living in the United States," explained Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason. "Such nontheists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them because they’re inundated with religious messages at every turn. 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 hope that folks will learn that it’s possible for one who doesn’t believe in a god to be a decent human being who contributes to the community, said David Costa, coordinator of Valley CoR. "You’ll find people like us everywhere: among your family and friends, in your neighborhood, at work, and maybe even next to you at church."
Edwords added: "The billboards going up this week also celebrate the National Day of Reason on May 5, an alternative observance to the National Day of Prayer. And they will remain up even after the supposed Rapture that a few have predicted for May 21."
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For hi-res images of the billboard, free for media use, see the right sidebar.
The Central Valley Coalition of Reason is made up of the Central Valley Alliance of Atheists and Skeptics, Humanists of the San Joaquin Valley and Tulare County Atheists.
The United Coalition of Reason is made up of over 40 local coalitions nationwide and works to raise the visibility and sense of unity among nontheistic groups by promoting cooperation and providing funding and expertise.
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