Gate City Guild honors youth during Thanksgiving Celebration

Published 10:47 pm Wednesday, November 7, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Gate City Guild #42 (GCG) is known for giving back to the community through Adopt a Street, Toy Drives, Valentines for Seniors, but on Saturday, the group wanted to honor the youth in the community.

“It is about the kids,” Princess Captain Benitris Edwards said. “It is about the youth.”

Nia Lewis and Paris Overstreet were presented certificates for the organizations they have formed. Lewis is the founder of Teens Make a Difference and Overstreet is the founder of The A-Team.

London Stroud, the owner of London Lane, was presented a certificate as well for being a business owner as well as teaching classes on painting.

Asia was recognized for her efforts in Street pick up.

Lewis formed Teens Make a Difference to give back to the community as well as provide events with teen positive activities.

Paris Overstreet is the founder of the college readiness program A-TEAM (Achieving Together Excellence Academics & Mentorship). The A-TEAM provides scholarship opportunities, free SAT prep courses, mentor program and college campus tours to students in public schools.

From picking up litter to inspiring others, the four young ladies are an inspiration to others.

Chartered in February 2015, GCG #42 has given back to Orange since.

GCG #42 and Gate City Commandery is part of the Adopt-A-Street program in Orange. The group opted to adopt two streets instead of the usual one.

The guild adopted part of 2nd Street from John Ave. to Farragut Avenue and part of 3rd Street from John Ave. to Farragut Ave., in May 2015, under the City of Orange’s Adopt-A-Street Program.

The guild has also collected toys and items for Shriners Hospital for Children in Houston. The items are taken to the hospital in December to help bring some holiday cheer to patients. In February, the ladies presented valentines for residents at a local nursing home. Annually, the group holds Back to School Drives to collect and then distribute needed school supplies to local students.

GCG is part of the Heroines of the Templar Crusade, the women’s auxiliary to Knight Templar. The Woman’s Crusade was established in Texas and its Jurisdiction, Prince Hall Affiliate in the year 1924.

It was organized in St. Louis, Missouri in the year 1917.

The Prince Hall Masons are the oldest and largest group of Masons of African origin in the world.  Today there are forty Grand Lodges of Prince Hall Freemasonry in the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, and Liberia.  These Grand Lodges preside over more than 5,000 lodges.  All of them claim descent from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, which is traced back to the African Lodge No. 459.

Due to prevalent racism and segregation in North America, it was impossible for African Americans to join most mainstream Masonic lodges until the late 20th century.  Yet, because Prince Hall Mason lodges were African American, North American Grand Lodges denounced Prince Hall Lodges and Prince Hall Masons, deeming them illegitimate and refusing to recognize their authority.  Until 1865 most Prince Hall lodges were in the North but after the Civil War, black Masonry quickly spread across the South, often led by Northern-born Masons who became active in Reconstruction politics. During the years of Reconstruction and continuing to 1900, Prince Hall Masonry remained a highly prestigious but small fraternity. By the early 20th century the membership rapidly expanded, lessening its exclusivity, according to