Atheists United San Luis Obispo (AU/SLO) is a community-based chapter of Atheists United (AU). AU/SLO is locally organized and defines its own agenda based on the support of volunteers and financial contributions from our community. Through a collaborative effort with AU, we pursue an active and supportive atheist community by promoting many shared core mission goals. We are a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, tax deductible educational organization.
AU/SLO kicked-off its debut meeting in January 2010 with Steve Arkowitz, organizer of the SLO chapter and Martin Williams as assistant organizer. With an initial meeting of 15 people coalescing at the Steynberg Gallery, interest quickly grew. Monthly meetings continued to be held with membership growing to 40 by March 2010. As of 2015, AU/SLO has flourished into a vibrant chapter, boasting 400 members with multiple events held monthly throughout the Central Coast.
AU/SLO is a local chapter of Atheists United (AU) [Est. 1982] one of the largest freethought organizations in the nation as well as the Southern California region. AU shares affiliation with Atheists Alliance of America and the Los Angeles Freethought Federation and provides support, sponsorship and governance to AU/SLO. Additional local chapters of AU are located throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
AU/SLO is affiliated with Central Coast Coalition of Reason (CCCoR), an alliance of atheist, free thought, and humanist groups working together on the Central Coast of California. CCoR is comprised of four community groups: Atheists United SLO, Alliance of Happy Atheists (California Polytechnic State University student group), the Santa Barbara Humanist Society and SLO Secular Families.
Core Mission Goals:
- Cultivate a supportive and active atheist community in SLO County
- Educate about the positive attributes of atheism and a secular lifestyle
- Enhance our visibility as a constructive presence in our county through community service
- Promote the separation of government and religion
Cultivate a supportive and active atheist community in SLO County
As the most vibrant atheist group on the Central Coast, we welcome participation through a variety of exciting planned events. We hope to engage members by creating a fellowship of non-believers that is both supportive and stimulating. For many people, living a life as a non-believer, isolation can be common experience as religion is often the standard for public acceptance. AU/SLO is committed to creating an outlet for atheists to meet and connect with other like-minded people in our community.
Educate about the positive attributes of atheism and a secular lifestyle
AU/SLO strives to enhance a better understanding of atheism through positive outreach and education to our members and the public. Fostering a clearer message about the beliefs and the moral values atheists uphold, can help inspire tolerance and acceptance for non believers into our community. By putting a positive face on atheism, we demonstrate to our community that we are “good without god.”
Ways we reach out
- Atheists United SLO Booth at Farmer's Markets and County Festivals
- Media outreach through public radio, television and newspaper
- Hosting free guest lectures
- Book Discussions
Enhance our visibility as a constructive presence on the Central Coast through community service
AU/SLO engages in ways to help improve the quality of our community through participating in various charitable activities and services. As our organization continues to grow so will the opportunities to be involved in community service.
Ways in which AU/SLO Gives Back
- Participation in the SLO Hunger Walk
- AU/SLO High School Scholarship Fund for Seniors
- Secular and science book donations to SLO Public Library
- AU/SLO Adopt-A-Highway Trash Pickup
Promote the separation of government and religion
AU/SLO is active in engaging in opportunities to defend the separation of government and religion in our community. We are an organization who endorses the fair and equal treatment for all people in our community, including those who are religion-free. As such, we value the importance of ensuring that citizens SLO County are protected by rights afforded by our California State Constitution and the US Constitution.
Ways in which AU/SLO has given a clear and rational voice for the non-religious community
- Partnership with the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to request that the City of Pismo Beach stop opening their meetings with sectarian invocations
- Activism in dissuading SLO City from losing vital income through downtown parking meters on Sundays by exempting fees for periods of religious worship
- Radio, television and newspaper outreach with members participating in interviews and editorials on the merits of separation of church and state.
Atheists United is locally organized by a Board of Directors whose members are nominated and elected by AU/SLO members. Our Board meets monthly on the second Monday of each month to discuss chapter business and members are welcome to attend and voice their input.
Atheists United SLO Officers:
Steve Arkowitz – President & Treasurer, (also AU Director)
Robin Rinzler – Vice President
Paul Rinzler – Secretary
Stephen White – Director
Terrence Jones – Director
Kim McGrew – Director