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Monday, June 02, 2014

The Fraternal Decline - Masonic Youth Programs Disappearing

Greetings!


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!

Fraternally,


Raymond Sean Walters a/k/a Renaissance Man




ADDENDUM: Letter sent November 13, 2015


Raymond Sean Walters
Post Office Box 635
Weirton, West Virginia 26062-0635



Mr. Michael Russell, Executive Director
DeMolay International
10200 NW Ambassador Drive
Kansas City, MO 64153




Dear Mr. Russell,


I hope that all finds you well with the writing of this letter. 


I first attempted to call your office with questions and seeking guidance, and the young woman I spoke with gave me a couple of options to communicate my question and complaint to your attention as Executive Director of DeMolay International.


My first question was the requirements for membership for young men who may be interested in seeking membership.


Here in West Virginia, it has been brought to my attention on multiple occasions that young boys of African American or other non-Caucasian ethnicities are being denied consideration for membership in DeMolay International in West Virginia. 


This move oddly parallels the Grand Lodge of West Virginia's official "un-official" mandate that NO men of African descent or other non-Caucasian ethnicity be permitted to petition, affiliate with, or even visit any subordinate lodge under the Grand Lodge of West Virginia. These violations are being committed against members of regular lodges under grand lodges that Grand Lodge of West Viriginia is in amity and fraternal recognition with.


While I understand that the Grand Lodge of West Virginia does not control DeMolay, the advisors most typically are members of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia, a grand lodge where an atmosphere of coercion and intimidation to employ racist, discriminatory tactics is at hand and used on a regular basis within that grand lodge. These negative attitudes subsequently spill over onto other concordant, appendant or sponsored youth groups operating within this gramnd lodge territory.


My point I truly wish to make is that discrimination against adults is one matter that adults can address in a manner they deem fit for such circumstance; but open discrimination against innocent children is a completely different scenario that is and should be unacceptable, and just may be considered so by a majority of Masonic members worldwide, beyond my own personal opinion.


While I do hold Masonic membership in another Grand Lodge, I AM writing this email out of concern for the message of exclusion that has been and is still being sent by DeMolay advisors who hold Masonic membership in Grand Lodge of West Virginia. 


The current message being sent here in West Virginia strikes me as contrary to DeMolay standards and a gross violation of conduct expected of any Masonic member involved with advising any youth group.



Sincerely,


Raymond Sean Walters
​Post Office Box 635
Weirton, West Virginia 26062-0635​

+1 412-353-9075
+1 253-484-2634 Efax (incoming)



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