(College Station, Texas, September 10, 2013) "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."
These words, superimposed over an image of a blue sky with clouds, are appearing on four prominent billboards across the Bryan/College Station area. This marks the formal launch of the Brazos Valley Coalition of Reason (Brazos Valley CoR), an alliance of three nontheistic (atheist and agnostic) groups in the area. The participating organizations are:
* Agnostic and Atheist Student Group of Texas A&M
* Brazos Valley Atheist Vuvuzela Marching Band
* Bryan/College Station Atheists and Freethinkers
* Secular Humanist Network of Texas A&M
Sponsored by Brazos Valley CoR, with $6,000 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (UnitedCoR), the ten-and-a-half-foot tall billboards will remain up for four weeks, which includes the time of the Texas A&M-Alabama game on September 14. One billboard is up this morning:
* In Navasota on the west side of State Highway 6, 1.4 miles north of Navasota River, facing north.
The other three billboards are slated to go up today at the following locations:
* In Bryan on the north side of Hwy. 21, 800 feet west of William Jennings Bryan Parkway, facing west
* In Bryan on the south side of Hwy. 21, just west of Farm to Market Road 2818, facing east, lower panel
* In College Station on the north side of Farm to Market Road 60 at the east end of Farm to Market Road 50
All but the first of these three are illuminated at night. For hi-res images, free for media use, see the right sidebar.
The campaign is part of a coordinated nationwide program that began in 2009. From then to now, similar campaigns have been launched in 34 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 campaign is to reach out to the millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the United States," explained Fred Edwords, national director of UnitedCoR. "Nontheists sometimes don't realize there's a community for them because they're inundated with religious 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 nonreligious people like us are a regular part of communities all over the state," added Luis Fayad, a spokesperson for Brazos Valley CoR. "Nontheistic Texans are your friends and neighbors, your coworkers and family members. We believe we should be as free as anyone to express our views publicly."
"Being visible is important to us," Edwords concluded, "because in our society non-religious people often don't know many others like themselves."
This campaign is the latest in a nationwide effort. Previous billboard and bus ad campaigns in Texas have been launched in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. The other states have been Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia–plus the District of Columbia.
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The Brazos Valley Coalition of Reason ( www.BrazosValleyCoR.org ) is a resource for freethinking people, uniting the various nontheistic groups throughout the Bryan/College Station area.
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 them cooperate toward common goals.
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For more information contact: