For immediate release
(Tallahassee, Florida, September 5, 2012) "Don’t believe in God? You are not alone."
These words, superimposed over an image of a blue sky with clouds, now appear on two prominent billboards in Tallahassee: one on North Monroe (U.S. 27) just north of McKee Road, facing southbound traffic from the right-hand side of the road, and the other on the south side of Apalachee Parkway at Goodbody Lane, facing inbound traffic from the left-hand side of the road. A third billboard, on West Pensacola Street at Lipona Road, on the left-hand side, facing traffic headed toward The Florida State University, bears the words "Don’t believe in God? Join the club."
These three 10 ½’ x 36′ ads will remain up until the first day of fall. They were placed by the Tallahassee Coalition of Reason with $6,100 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason.
The billboard campaign marks the public launch of Tally CoR, the Tallahassee Coalition of Reason, which is an alliance of five atheist, freethought, humanist and skeptic groups working together in the greater Tallahassee area.
It is also the latest in a nationwide effort to reach out to non-theists. Since 2009 there have been similar billboards, bus ads or Internet campaigns in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The states are 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, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. This is the fourth coalition billboard campaign in Florida. The previous three were in Jacksonville and Tampa in 2010 and Orlando in 2011.
"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 non-theists 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 coalition: "We hope the people of Tallahassee will realize we are a regular part of the community," said Richard Hull, coordinator of Tally CoR. "People like us live all over the city and state. We’re your friends and family members, neighbors and coworkers. Some of us might even be sitting in the pew next to you at church!"
"Being visible is important to us," Edwords concluded, "because, in our society, atheists and agnostics often don’t know many people like themselves. Moreover, if traditionally religious people can be open about their views, why can’t we be open about ours?"
For high-res images of the billboards, free for media use, see the right sidebar.
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The Tallahassee Coalition of Reason is made up of five area atheist, freethought, humanist and skeptic groups working together to provide education, support and a sense of community among the like-minded.
The United Coalition of Reason is made up of 57 local coalitions nationwide and works to raise the visibility and sense of unity among non-theistic groups.
For more information contact:
Alternate Media Representatives
Tallahassee Coalition of Reason
Gary Whittenberger: [email protected]; 850-219-8848; 850-345-1923 (cell)
Brandi Braschler: [email protected]; 727-808-0593
John Porgal: ; [email protected]; 850-567-3959
Mark Palmer: 850-274-1555