(Stockton, CA, May 4, 2011) "Don’t believe in God? Join the Club."
These words, superimposed over an image of a sunrise, will appear on two prominent billboards in the San Joaquin Valley, one in Stockton this week and one in the Modesto area in two weeks. The 14 by 48 foot billboards will remain up past the Memorial Day weekend and be illuminated at night. This campaign is sponsored by the San Joaquin Valley Coalition of Reason (SJ Valley CoR) with $7,296.00 in funding from the United Coalition of Reason (United CoR).
The ad campaign also marks the public launch of SJ Valley CoR, a coalition made up of three valley freethought groups with activities ranging from social to educational to activist.
These local billboards are also part of a larger effort. Others are appearing this week in Fresno 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 want people to realize that a person can be a decent human being without believing in a god," said Colleen Keenan, coordinator of SJ Valley CoR. "You’ll find us all over the valley. We’re your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers and your family members."
Edwords added: "The billboards appearing 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 billboards, free for media use, visit www.SJValleyCoR.org.
The two billboard locations are:
* On the west side of Hwy. 99, 750 ft. north of Waterloo in Stockton, facing north. This one will run May 4 thru the end of the month.
* On the west side of Hwy 99, 500 ft. south of 4Th Street, west side, facing south. This is in Ripon, north of Modesto. It will run May 16 to June 12.
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SJ Valley CoR is a coalition made up of the Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers, the Secular Student Alliance at the University of the Pacific and Stanislaus Skeptics.
The United Coalition of Reason consists 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.
For more information contact: