Today's thought will center on the decline of Masonic sponsored programs for youth - boys & girls.
I will address and comment on my specific region, though some of what I will mention may apply in more areas than my own.
Here in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, the Knights of Pythagoras program has been virtually non-existent for several years. Across the river in eastern Ohio, no KOP sponsored groups either.
Knights of Pythagoras is a Prince Hall Grand Lodge sponsored group that relies on volunteer advisers from a local lodge that sponsor the group of Knights.
I have never been aware of the Gleaners group for young girls to become part of in my region, and wonder if there has ever been one in this area. Gleaners would be advised by members of the Order of the Eastern Star I believe.
On the flip-side of this debacle is the Order of De Molay and the Rainbow Girls, and I actually have NO knowledge of what, if any groups operate in this region.
What is equally disconcerting to me is that the several youngsters I would have referred to the KOP & Gleaners most likely would NOT be admitted to the De Molay & Rainbow groups because of their race/ethnicity.
How do we openly discriminate against children, no matter their age? How do we limit the opportunity for young people to develop socially, helping to better prepare them?
And what is most bothersome, what reception would any of these young people get due to my being the one to refer them to a youth program on either side of the Masonic coin --- myself having held membership on both sides of that coin, but not being treated as a MAN or FREEMASON anywhere in West Virginia by members of Prince Hall Grand Lodge because I hold mainstream membership, nor by mainstream Grand Lodge because of my race/ ethnicity while being often equally mis-treated in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania for similar reasons?
I AM amazed at the level of racism that still exists and perpetuates in the region I presently reside --- a region where I AM not welcomed by other Freemasons in Prince Hall Grand Lodge or Grand Lodge of West Virginia, and where young children can be denied social interaction to acquire skills that would be most beneficial to their development as people.
Once again, I do NOT have answers... I can only share the FACTS as they are.
Do I like it? NO, I do NOT!!!
And I strongly suspect that many of you won't like it either.
I will part for now --- stay FOCUSED, stay POSITIVE and stay PRAYERFUL!
Raymond Sean Walters a/k/a Renaissance Man
ADDENDUM: Letter sent November 13, 2015