My experience in starting a rally to support human rights

Dave Formosa of Chatham, is raising awareness about human rights with his rally for the Lev Tahor. The rally will take place outside the courts in Chatham on February 25th, from 1 to 3 p.m. Photo Facebook

Dave Formosa of Chatham, is raising awareness about human rights with his rally for the Lev Tahor. The rally will take place outside the courts in Chatham on February 25th, from 1 to 3 p.m. Photo Facebook

By Dave Formosa

I run a Facebook group called Cupcakes to Restore Humanity. I created the group as a method of repairing my faith in humanity. The group is a place where members can come if they need help with virtually anything. I remember shortly after the group was created it hit 20 members and I went to bed feeling very proud. When I woke up I was astonished to see 80 members overnight. The group now has almost 600 members!

By doing so I am now labelled “the cupcake guy”. I knew the group was going to be a success when I realized my front room was continuously filled with donations and I was continuously driving around picking these donations up.

A short time ago I was involved in a debate about the “Jewish Taliban”. I could not believe some of the things people could say about a group we knew virtually nothing about. This isn’t the Chatham I know, what happened to us? A few other members felt the same as I did and we decided that we should stand up and show support and welcome the members of the Lev Tahor to our community. After speaking with a few people and gathering ideas we decided on a peace rally. The goal is to try to get the community to understand the members of the Lev Tahor and not assume who they are based on media. The others from cupcakes to restore are great people with huge hearts. They have ideas and we put those ideas to work. We decided on the peace rally, hoping to achieve:

  • respect for the Lev Tahor
  • protecting rights that are being violated

My first time meeting a Lev Tahor member was with Uriel Goldman and Mayer Rosner. My knowledge of the group wasn’t the greatest and I was unsure of what to expect. I remember sending Goldman a text message to set up the meeting then asking myself,”does he even text?”. Sure enough I got a response he was excited to meet me and thankful I contacted him. When I drove out to meet with him I met Rosner in the office he informed me that Goldman was in the school and that he too would be joining us. When Goldman came up he had a plate full of kosher desserts. He offered me some saying “it’s not cupcakes but they are alright, not good either but alright”, followed by a laugh and a smile. We entered his office and began to discuss my intention to hold a demonstration. When I told him the ideas our group had, Goldman was happily surprised to see more and more people supporting them. He told me how he is amazed every day how people stop out at Spurgeon’s Villa to lend support.

Setting A Date

My concern with the rally was I did not have Lev Tahor input. They love the idea and not only because it is for them. Goldman mentioned, “It is a great idea because it is a positive message.” During the meeting, which was during school hours, I could hear children in the next room singing songs and learning from their teacher. Goldman insisted we join in the classroom to see how the children are taught. I declined not wanting to intrude. I could hear the children were busy and what sounded like fun laughing and singing songs. After getting the support from Lev Tahor members, I decided on a date of February 25th between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., in front of the Chatham courthouse at 425 Grand Avenue West.

I created the event page and that is when the fun started. I had a few followers and plenty of negative feedback as well. I didn’t realize how hard it would be defending humans rights. That’s the one thing we are all born with, yet for the members of the Lev Tahor it seemed the community didn’t believe they deserved rights. I was torn between feeling the need to help the community understand or just letting people shame a whole community based on what they thought they knew of them from media stories.

Online Comments Discouraging

I decided to push forward and soon enough the attention was getting bigger. A reporter contacted me and released a story. When it first appeared I was thinking this is awesome, now people can be aware. That was quickly rerouted once some negativity began. People started making outlandish claims based on what they had heard in the media. I was shocked how people just hear or read something and automatically call it truth. I thought our society was stronger than that. After reading some comments and feeling pretty discouraged, I decided this isn’t who I am. I can’t sit back and let these claims linger as truth. I started replying back to some of the comments and quickly realized I have more support outside of the group than I initially thought. That and a few encouraging messages sent to me privately once again restored my faith in humanity.

My response to the negativity is: The rally is for human rights. My initial goal was to avoid all allegations towards the group no matter how far-fetched that seemed. The purpose is to protect what they/we are entitled to. Through my group Cupcakes to Restore Humanity I have seen so much compassion from others that it is absolutely amazing. I want to extend that compassion to all groups of people. I know most of you have made up your minds about the Lev Tahor based on media reports. I expected some negativity out of this. I’m not the soft type of guy and this started out as, with a ‘lets see if we can help’ approach. During this process I have learned to be more and more compassionate, even typing this I’m holding back emotion. Which is hard as my heart weeps to the children, mothers, fathers and other group members. I weep for Chatham-Kent but most of all I weep for you Canada. If this groups’ rights can be violated so drastically, then living as Canadians that means you are just as much at risk in having your rights violated. There is no proof or evidence of child abuse and this group has been investigated for 18 months. They found no issues other than the education, which is why they came to Ontario. Educational issues that are the same as many people complained about in the Ontario school curriculum; including sexual education to grade one students. People stood up and said, “Wait a minute, that’s too young.” You had a right to stand up for how your child is educated. So why don’t they?

Human Rights Apply To Everyone

I want people to understand that this is about human rights that we all have and are entitled to. Please do not base your outlook on this group based on media reports about the Lev Tahor. We all have the right to free thought. I encourage all of us to use it. We are not programmable drones.

Let’s heal Canada by healing the issues within ourselves. That is the only way to protect the children. I will continue pushing forward, despite the negativity, as I stand up for what I believe is the most humane approach. As one member of the group, Lisa Smith has said, “Please try to keep an open mind to all this. I know its hard to forget what you have read and heard from media, but you know the old saying ‘you tell two friends and they tell two friends’ and so on. Stay open-minded.” I agree with her. I believe an open mind is the key to an open heart. I encourage all of you to join the event. You can follow the event on Facebook or join Cupcakes to Restore Humanity and we will happily welcome you to the group, as a community should welcome new members.

Anyone interested in standing up for your rights, is invited to the event page on Facebook:

  • Lisa Smith

    Definitely amazing ..I belong to the group and a pleasure to know Dave ,Mandy and many others in this group…THe kindeness in theses peoples hearts is amazing warm and very up lifting not all humans are turning the other cheek…Im glad we got involved to help our fellow man regardless their religion color or gender…Sad thing is it is happening to theses people can also happen to friends famly and neighbours… would you turn another cheek??? PLease be open minded …. I for one am looking forward to not only learning about another culture but making new friends