Super Happy Fun America (SHFA) and Citizens Organized to Restore Rights (CORR)
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Super Happy Fun America is the group best known for organizing the “Straight Pride” event in Boston in 2019 and several other controversial events in New England. Boston Free Speech and Resist Marxism both refer to earlier groups involving some of the same people. These groups specialize in “oppressed majority” rhetoric, co-opting the language of social justice to create excuses to hold far-right events that often lead to violence and to invite white nationalist figures to Boston. In 2021, SHFA organized buses to Washington, DC for the January 6 insurrection. Two members of the group, Mark Sahady and Sue Ianni, were photographed inside the Capitol and later arrested. Since then the group has celebrated them as “heroes of January 6.”
Citizens Organized to Restore Rights is a group that started in Fall River, MA during the pandemic bringing together the anti-mandate movement with the pro-gun movement and “patriot”-style anti-government rhetoric. It has been described as a Christian nationalist organization focused on providing “security” at right-wing events getting members elected to state and local government.
CORR began doing “security” for SHFA events in summer of 2021. In Fall of 2021, the two groups collaborated on an event on the Boston Common that attracted counter-protestors and ended with an organizer driving a van through a police barrier. In early 2022, they announced that they were jointly forming a new group called “CORR North” which meets in Peabody, MA. SHFA’s website says the two groups have formed an “alliance” called the “Refounding Fathers Coalition.”
CORR Founder David Steinhof has said he is also working on forming CORR Cape, CORR RI, and CORR Worcester.
Although SHFA’s best known event was three years ago, and CORR has only been referenced in a few news articles, these two groups are unfortunately still relevant to the news in New England: Of the known SHFA/CORR affiliates listed in this document,
- At least seven ran for office in 2022 (Rayla Campbell, Rob Burke, Bob May, Carissa Moglia, Sam Racioppi, Jeanne Lugo, Dianna Ploss).
- At least five were in Washington, DC for the January 6 insurrection (Mark Sahady, Sue Ianni, Dianna Ploss, Samson Racioppi, Chau Kelley)
- At least seven are current elected officials in their cities or towns (Katie Ferreira-Aubin, Jeffrey Reber, Peter Latour, Leonard Hull, Bill Moore, Clay Johnson, Peter Hoogerzeil)
- One made news for punching his female political opponent in the face (Jeann Lugo)
- One recently won a case before SCOTUS (Hal Shurtleff)
Unlike groups like Patriot Front or NSC-131, these groups usually avoid explicit racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism, and include women and minorities in their membership. However their connections and use of dog-whistle rhetoric suggest their private beliefs are not far off from these hate groups.
Boston Free Speech / Resist Marxism / SHFA
This document doesn’t attempt to explain the early days of these groups and the connections between them because there are other good sources for that:
The 2019 documentary “The ‘Oppressed’ Majority” by Rod Webber details the connections between the people involved and other far-right groups, and the evidence that they are far more queerphobic, violent, and Nazi-friendly than they appeared in the media coverage of “Straight Pride.”
“Free Speech” Rally, Boston, 2017
A group called Boston Free Speech organized a rally and invited nationally-known racist and anti-Semitic figures including Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, Kyle Chapman, and Augustus Invictus. The rally happened just after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Online researchers and subsequently newspapers reported the event’s white supremacist ties, resulting in a massive counter-protest, out-numbering the participants who huddled in the bandstand. The event appeared to be a failure but it brought together people who would later form SHFA as well as other far-right groups.
Boston Free Speech Rally – Wikipedia
“Freedom Rally,” Providence, RI, 2018
In October 2018 Resist Marxism organized a rally at the RI state house which resulted in violence between participants and counter-protestors. Out-of-state guests invited by Resist Marxism included Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson as well as “Tiny” Toese, a notoriously violent member of the Proud Boys, who initiated a brawl with counter-protestors despite heavy police presence.
Providence Freedom Rally | New England White Supremacists
“Straight Pride”, Boston, 2019
Resist Marxism formed the ironically-named organization “Super Happy Fun America” so they could apply for a permit for a “Straight Pride” event that would in fact be a far-right event, with openly gay alt-right figure Milo Yiannapolis as “grand marshall.” The event received international media attention, nearly all negative, but much of it portrayed the organizers as trolls while ignoring their violent connections. The event attracted counter-protestors who Boston PD seemed to view as the enemy– several videos showed violence by police against apparently non-violent counter-protestors and many were arrested.
Straight pride – Wikipedia
‘Straight pride’ parade organizer has held and attended far-right events | The Guardian
What To Know About The ‘Straight Pride Parade’ Coming To Boston | WBUR News
Boston ‘straight pride’ parade dwarfed by large counter-protest | The far right | The Guardian
Boston Police Worked 9,000 Overtime Hours At The ‘Straight Pride’ Parade. Zero Minutes Were Captured By Body Cameras | WBUR News
Charges won’t be dropped for ‘Straight Pride Parade’ counterprotesters
January 6 Insurrection, Washington, DC, 2021
SHFA chartered eight buses to take people to DC from meet-up points in New England, including Newton, Plymouth, and New Bedford, MA. Sue Ianni, who was an elected official in Natick, MA at the time, organized the Newton buses. Ianni and SHFA co-founder Mark Sahady were photographed inside the Capitol. In an interview afterward, Ianni complained that the insurrectionists were being portrayed unfairly by media. Later in January she and Sahady were both arrested and charged. Since then they have continued to participate in SHFA and CORR events which have celebrated them as “heroes of January 6.”
“Rise Against Tyranny”, Boston, MA, 2021
On 11/7/2021, SHFA held a joint rally with CORR and anti-mandate group United First Responders on the Boston Common. Most media referred to it as an anti-mandate rally, but sources such as NewEnglandWhiteSupremacists.com and Green Monster Antifa drew attention to the groups’ violent connections, leading to a counter-protest and a major police presence. Several videos showed violence between rally participants and counter-protestors. The rally ended when a rally organizer drove a van through a police barrier.
Current Rhetoric / Ideology
SHFA has a public website with the slogan “It’s Great to Be Straight.” It says the group is focused “on defending the Constitution, opposing gender madness and defeating cultural Marxism.” Visitors can donate to Ianni and Sahady’s legal defense fund, which has raised $13K according to the givesendgo page. Their online store sells “straight pride” flags and other merch including shirts that say “Reclaim the Rainbow” with a picture of a cross over it. They also sell shirts with pictures of Kyle Rittenhouse with the word “hero.”
A page called “our ten point plan to save America” begins “Our great republic is threatened by far-left fanatics of the Democrat party and their violent, militant Antifa / BLM street thugs. American cities are burning, murderous gangs are creating mayhem on the streets, and elections have been subverted.” The page says they support election reform, regulating big tech to protect free speech, and reforming public school to “Remove all gender madness and anti-American revisionist history from studies.” Their final point is “Make normalcy normal again. Judeo-Christian values are under siege. It is time to right the ship.” The website also contains a “law center” which supposedly identifies hate groups, and claims SPLC is a hate group.
John Hugo,Woburn, MA, President and Co-Founder, SHFA
Ran for congress in the MA 5th district in 2018, endorsed by MA GOP. Member of Resist Marxism which re-branded as SHFA. Listed as president of SHFA on their website. He is originally from Arlington, MA and lived in Woburn, MA as of 2018.
Mark Sahady, Malden, MA, Co-founder, SHFA
In 2018, Sahady was active in the Proud Boys in Portland, OR and joined Resist Marxism, which would later be rebranded as SHFA. In 2021 he was arrested for his role in Jan.6 after being photographed inside the US Capitol. According to a DOJ page, his most recent court date was in October, 2021– next steps unclear. He continues to be involved in SHFA/CORR and shows up in a photo of SHFA’s “leadership” on their website. He lives in Malden, MA or did as of early 2021.
Samson Racioppi, Salisbury, MA,Co-Founder, SHFA
An early member of “Resist Marxism” which later rebranded as SHFA. According to a Washington Post article, he was with SHFA in Washington, DC on Jan 6 but did not enter the Capitol. According to his LinkedIn, served in the Army 2005-2008 and is now a commissioner of the Salisbury, MA housing authority. Ran for MA legislature in 2022 in the 1st Essex District. Previously worked for William Gens, a Boston anti-mandate attorney.
Sue Iannni, location unknown
In January, 2021, Ianni organized buses from Newton, MA, to Washington, DC for the January 6 insurrection and was later arrested for her role after being photographed inside the Capitol. At the time she was an elected member of Natick, MA town meeting and criticized a resolution condemning the insurrection. She moved out of Natick sometime in early 2021. Ianni shows up in a picture of the group’s “leadership” on their website but it does not say her specific role. In December of 2022 she was sentenced to 15 days in prison.
Robert Burke, Milton, MA
Rob Burke is listed on SHFA’s “Creative Director” on the “leadership” page of their website. He was the Republican nominee for US Congress in the MA 8th district in 2022, running against Democrat incumbent Stephen Lynch. He made news in August, 2022 when he intervened in a police altercation while doing a DoorDash delivery. According to his Twitter he lives in Milton, MA.
Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman, location unknown, founder, Resist Marxism
Nationally-known far-right figure and Proud Boys leader who earned his nickname when he was caught on video beating counter-protestors with a stick at a Trump rally in 2017 in Berkeley, CA. The same year, he was scheduled to speak at the Boston “Free Speech” rally and founded Resist Marxism in Boston.
Hal Shurtleff, Boston, MA
Hal Shurtleff shows up on the SHFA website in a picture of their “leadership” although it does not specify his role. He has been part of the leadership of SHFA since at least March of 2021, according to a Washington Post article. Founder of the organization “Camp Constitution” whose mission is “to enhance understanding of our Judeo-Christian moral heritage,” according to their website. Shertleff led an effort to ask Boston City Hall to fly “the Christian flag,” which was denied, leading to a US Supreme Court Case in which the city was ordered to fly it. He lives in Boston according to his Twitter.
John Medlar, co-founder, Boston Free Speech
John Medlar was one of the main organizers of Boston Free Speech and the 2017 “Free Speech” rally and was interviewed by media about it. He is also a member of the Proud Boys (or was as of 2017) according to Antifash Gordon. According to his LinkedIn page, he was a freelance videographer in Brookline, MA as of 2014. According to The Young Jurks, he performed a musical number at “Straight Pride”. It’s not clear if he’s still affiliated with SHFA but he is still involved in far-right politics- in October of 2022 he participated the reactionary anti-abortion “Men’s March” in Boston and in November he protested a Drag Queen Story hour in Fall River, MA. He is originally from Newton, MA but his current location is unknown.
Donna Forand, Carver, MA
According to an article about a “Back the Blue” rally she organized in 2021, Donna Forand lives in Carver and is the daughter and mother of police officers. She coordinated buses to the Jan 6 Insurrection from Plymouth, MA, according to a social media post advertising the buses.
Samuel Johnson, location unknown
Part of the “leadership” of SHFA since at least March of 2021, according to a Washington Post article.
Chau Kelley, Manchester, NH, Outreach Coordinator, SHFA
Bao Chau Kelley is a realtor from Manchester, NH who was very active in organizing Vietnamese voters for Trump in 2020. She came to the US as a refugee from South Vietnam and her far-right views stem from her hatred of Communism. According to a Washington Post article, Kelley is the outreach coordinator for SHFA and was with them in Washington, DC on Jan.6 although she says she did not enter the capitol. In May of 2021 she organized a rally in NH around the idea that the 2020 election was stolen.
Michael Moura, Incarcerated
According to research Antifash Gordon, Michael Moura was an early member of Resist Marxism / SHFA as well as Neo-Nazi group NSC-131 New England. According to researcher Chad Loder, he is now in prison (or was as of April, 2022) after attempting to buy a firearm from someone who turned out to be a federal agent.
Citizens Organized to Restore Rights (CORR)
CORR was started in 2020 by David Steinhof, a dentist based in Fall River, MA, who held most of the meetings at his dental practice which members call “Valley Forge”. Meetings generally consist of political speeches, updates from people working with affiliated groups, group prayers, and patriotic music.
At a meeting in January of 2022, founder David Steinhof said “We started as 5 people in April 2020 and now we have 500 people on our email list and we are affiliated with 4,000-5,000 people in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.”
CORR has a public website and a Facebook page where they have posted photos and videos from nearly all their meetings– FB has recently started censoring the videos.
Current Rhetoric / Ideology
According to their website “CORR is a grassroots organization of people who feel the government is out of control.” It says their priorities are stopping COVID mandates, enforcing laws against violent protest and destruction of property, and reversing a police reform bill passed by MA in 2020.
According to a September, 2022 article in the Taunton Daily Gazette, CORR has not been designated as a hate group by SPLC but it is “on their radar.” An SPLC researcher told the Gazette that “groups like CORR look to rebrand the term conservative ‘to put further into the mainstream really harmful ideas,’ adding that much of what they express ‘doesn’t constitute traditional conservative ideas.'”
CORR generally avoids explicit bigotry in their rhetoric and includes women and minorities in their membership. They encourage women to participate in their “security” team which is unusual for far-right groups. Researchers for the website newenglandwhitesupremacists.com have identified aspects of their rhetoric that are anti-LGBT and anti-Semitic. Based on analysis of videos of their meetings, they describe CORR as follows:
CORR is a Christofascist/Christian nationalist organization committed to organizing various unaffiliated groups to support extremist candidates for local seats of government. Their “big tent” philosophy is an effort to increase their numbers resulting in a mishmash of philosophies, a rich variety of fringe ideas, and a formless stew of half-baked and factually inaccurate political ideologies. They have described themselves as a “force multiplier” that is forming a networking hub for a wide range of right-wing groups that focus on different issues. They mobilize their base to support these various groups’ events.
CORR has a charismatic leader in David Steinhof, who artfully navigates the complexities of their meetings despite, at times, his obvious discomfort with some speakers …
Importantly, CORR is focused on building power by running and supporting candidates for local political office. At one of their meetings, members discussed a strategy to “infiltrate the school committees [and] take them over from within.”
CORR In the News
(David Steinhoff has stated that CORR does not have official memberships, though he sometimes refers to people as “members.” So no one on this list is an “official” member, but they all have participated in in CORR Meetings. Their participation can be verified via photos or videos on the CORR Facebook page.)
David Steinhof, Fall River, MA, Founder, CORR
David Steinhof is a politician and dentist who owns a Steinhof Dental Clinic in Fall River, MA, where he holds CORR meetings. He ran for MA state rep in the 6th Bristol District in 2014, and at about the same time his estranged wife file for a protective order against him citing years of violent abuse. He formed CORR in 2020.
Josh Mello, Cranston, RI
Josh Mello (Joshua J. Mello) was named by Green Monster Antifa as an organizer of CORR in 2021 and was a speaker at CORR meetings on 2/21/2022 and 5/16/2022. Partner of Rachel Ware. In 2011, he was charged with arson in Warwick, RI. In October of 2021, he had a violent meldtown at his daughter’s middle school in Cranston, RI and was subdued by five police officers who found three knives on him. He was charged and is expected to go to trial in September of 2022. In a livestream, Mellow and Ware accused Cranston PD of assaulting and wrongfully arresting him, and the video page linked to a fundraising page. In an interview they claimed Mello was wrongfully removed from a list of people authorized to pick up his daughter which “led to multiple confrontations on school property, violent altercations with police and school resource officers, arrests, PTSD, explicit sexual communications and images of acts on school grounds, and the coercion of the child to become bi-sexual.”
In June of 2022, at an abortion rights rally in Providence, Mello shouted at participants and was assaulted by an unknown person. The resulting scuffle was broken up by Jennifer Rourke, an activist and candidate for RI state senate. Shortly after, Rourke was punched in the face by her Republican opponent, Jeann Lugo. In an article about the incident, Mello said at the rally he was accused of being a member of CORR, and denied that he is a member, though he acknowledged going to meetings and rallies. He said he is part of a right-wing group Rhode Island Freedom Fighters. That group has posted on their Facebook page about Mello being assaulted at the rally, and linked to a GiveSendGo page raising money for him.
Rachel A. Ware, Cranston, RI
Spoke at a CORR meeting 5/16/22. Partner of Josh Mello. Arrested in March, 2022 for “obstructing an officer.” In August of 2022, she posted an audio recording of a Cranston city lawyer telling her she is not allowed at her step-daughter’s school, with a caption claiming she and Mello were protecting her from “Sexually explicit videos filmed in the school gym.”
Jeann Lugo, Warwick, RI
Jeann Lugo is a Providence police officer and former candidate for RI state senate best-known for punching his female opponent in the face. He was a speaker at a CORR meeting in May, 2022, according to the Providence Journal. At the time he was running for RI lieutenant governor but he later decided to run for RI State Senate in District 29. At an abortion rights rally in Providence in June of 2022, he was caught on video punching his opponent, activist Jennifer Rourke, in the face. He is charged in connection with the assault and the police chief has recomended firing him, but he is challenging that under RI’s “Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights.”
Steven Pittsley, Fall River, MA
According to Green Monster Antifa, Steven Pittsley is a leader of CORR and also a member of the Three Percenter militia. He is extremely misogynistic, loves guns, and lives in Fall River or did as of November, 2021.
John Paul Moran, Billerica, MA
Speaker at a CORR North meeting April 15, 2022 and CORR meeting June 10, 2022. Ran for US Congress in the MA 6th district in 2020, losing in the general election to Seth Moulton. Founder of the right-wing organization “GOUsa,” which offers “political credit score” ratings for politicians. Filed a lawsuit in MA to overturn the 2020 election.
John McCaul, Taunton, MA
John McCaul is a Taunton city councilor who has regularly attended CORR meetings since at least February of 2022.
Katie Ferreira -Aubin, Dighton, MA
Speaker at a CORR meeting 2/21/22. Member of the Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee who made news in 2021 when she compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust. Despite calls to step down she is still a member. Also a mental health professional working in Cranston, RI.
Jeffrey Reber, Rehoboth, MA
Peter Latour, Dighton, MA
Spoke at a CORR meeting 2/21/22. Member of Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee. In a January 2022 article about school mask policy, he seems to refer to COVID as “the cure”: “Even schools that have hit the 80% vaccinated threshold at their schools are re-masking up because the disease (or the cure) is spreading throughout the schools.”
Leonard E. Hull Jr., Dighton, MA
Speaker at CORR meeting 3/7/2022. Member of the Dighton Board of Selectmen. Previously a member of the Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee for 16 years and a social studies teacher in Taunton, MA schools for 30 years.
Bill Moore, Dighton, MA
Clay Johnson, Richmond, RI
Carissa Moglia, East Providence, RI
Speaker at CORR meeting 2/21/22. Ran for East Providence School Committee in 2022. In 2021, she was a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit against the state of RI over COVID restrictions in schools, saying her son had issues with asthma and headaches due to masks.
Peter Hoogerzeil, Seekonk, MA
Peter Hoogerzeil is the elected town moderator and a high school history teacher in Seekonk, MA. He spoke at a CORR meeting on 2/21/2022, introduced by David Steinhof as “one of our members.” He said he works as a political advisor to campaigns, including some in FL and other states, and offered advice for people considering running for office. He said he had worked on campaigns with Steinhof and with John Hugo.
In March of 2022, SHFA and CORR members held a kick-off meeting in Peabody, MA for a new group called “CORR North” which Steinhof said would be a “marriage” of the two groups. Sam Racioppi appears to be the main administrator of the group, which meets monthly in Peabody.
David Steinhof said in a meeting ““[SHFA] are who we want to be when we grow up. SHFA stirs it up every time they hit the street… This culminates the marriage of two phenomenal conservative groups. And that is what’s going to make these antifa, and BLM, and these communists and socialists shake in their boots.”
(We have not seen a membership list for CORR North so this list includes people who have participated in their events, who may or may not be official members. Their participation in CORR meetings can be verified via photos or videos on the CORR Facebook page.)
In addition to Mark Sahady, Sam Racioppi, Sue Ianni, John Hugo, and David Steinhof:
Renee and Tom Arena, Waltham, MA
Renee Arena ran for school committee in Waltham, MA in 2021. Her husband, Tom, is from a well-connected Waltham family. According to Renee’s campaign finance docs, her website was built by Mark Sahady. In early 2022, Renee challenged two books for LGBTQ+ youth in the Waltham High School library. At about the same-time, a still-unidentified person began taking large numbers of books from the Little Queer Library in Waltham. In February, 2022 the Arenas were guest speakers at a CORR meeting regarding “challenging books all up and down the line of rainbow happiness,” as Tom put it. They said they planned to be more involved in CORR North and donated CORR buttons they had made.
Dianna Ploss, Peabody, MA
Guest speaker at the kick-off meeting for CORR North 4/15/22. Far-right social media personality who declared herself a candidate for MA governor in 2022 but did not get enough signatures to get on the ballot. In 2020, Ploss organized a controversial series of “Back the Blue” rallies in Swampscott, MA, at which anit-racist activist Shimmy was arrested due to a false claim he assaulted a participant. According to footage from her own livestream, she participated in the January 6 insurrection and was aware she and other participants were breaking the law. In July of 2022, she did a series of livestreams for “Jew-lie” featuring Holocaust denier Jim Rizzoli.
Rayla Campbell, Randolph, MA
Guest speaker at a CORR North Kick-off meeting 3/2/2022 and other CORR-related events. Candidate and likely GOP nominee for MA Secretary of State best known for claiming in a speech at the GOP convention that MA schools are “telling your 5-year-old that he can go and suck another 5-year-old’s dick.” She is also known for harassing families at drag queen story hours and made a Facebook post in support of neo-Nazi group NSC-131 when they showed up at a drag queen story hour. At a “Back the Blue” event she co-hosted in Plymouth, MA, she showed people the book “Gender Queer” claiming it was obscene, leading to her being reported to and questioned by police. Her campaign website lists an address in Randolph, MA.
William E. Gens, location unknown
Bob May, W. Peabody, MA
Robert May Jr. is currently running for US Congress in the MA 6th district. He was a guest speaker at a CORR North meeting on 4/15/22. He lives in W. Peabody and owns a business in Newburyport according to an article about his campaign.
Christine Doherty, Somerville, MA
Christine Doherty was spotted wearing a CORR shirt and “straight pride” button while collecting signatures for a ballot initiative (backed by a group called “Fair and Secure MA” and the MA GOP) to prevent undocumented immigrants from applying for drivers’ licenses. She is now a co-plaintiff with MA GOP chair Jim Lyons on a lawsuit against MA Attorney General Maura Healey and three community organizers who they claim intimidated and physically blocked access to signature-gatherers. The suit also claims counter-protestors posted pictures of signature-gatherers online and asked the public to identify and harass them.
At the end of CORR’s official videos, SHFA and the following are listed as “affiliated groups”:
(See Hal Shurtleff)
United Cape Patriots
United Cape Patriots is a far-right group based on Cape Cod led by Adam Lange, best-known for MAGA standouts near the Bourne Bridge and for driving a military-style vehicle in the Yarmouth St. Patrick’s Day parade. Members include Kari MacRae, a former teacher, member of Bourne School Committee, and candidate for MA state senate in the Plymouth & Barnstable district, who is perhaps best know for a failed attempt to get a dance for LGBTQ+ youth in Newburyport, MA canceled. On 3/7/2022, UCP held a joint event with SHFA/CORR on the Cape attended by Mark Sahady, Sue Ianni, David Steinhof, and Rayla Campbell.
God Given Freedom Fighters
Other Related Groups
Massachusettts Republican Party
Many people affiliated with SHFA or CORR are current or former GOP candidates for office. One person affiliated with CORR, Christine Doherty, is a co-plaintiff in a suit filed by the GOP against Maura Healey. In August of 2022, GOP frontrunner for MA governor Geoff Diehl and party chair Jim Lyons did a joint event with SHFA/CORR-affiliated candidates Sam Racioppi, Rayla Campbell, and Bob May.
NSC-131 New England
Members of neo-Nazi group NSC-131 New England including Chris Hood, Anthony Petruccelli, and Michael Moura were all involved in organizing early SHFA events. Member Liam MacNeil said he attended the 2017 Free Speech rally (he was in high school at the time) in the hope of meeting “other fascists” and met NSC-131 founder Chris Hood there.