The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Regional Leadership Development, by Obadiah Simmons, Grambling University

Posted on April 17, 2008 at 06:47 PM

We would like to send this message about expanding grassroots regional leadership development from Dr. Obadiah Simmons of Grambling State University, who is co-coordinator–along with Clifton Avant of Entergy–for the state of Louisiana for the Delta Grassroots Caucus. Dr. Simmons has been a prominent regional advocate for many years and we greatly appreciate his leadership for the Delta Grassroots Caucus.

We are planning to add this to our Strategic Plan for Regional Economic Development, which is almost finished. It contains contributions from many grassroots leaders across the region and is about 70 pages. There is a page and a half executive summary, since we know most people do not have the time to read lengthy documents.–Lee Powell

Expansion of Regional Leadership Development

By Dr. Obadiah Simmons, Grambling State University, Co-Coordinator for Louisiana for the Delta Grassroots Caucus

§ Grassroots Involvement – by expanding the existing DRA Leadership Institute to include more individuals from true grassroots organizations such as: community-/faith-based organizations; community stakeholders and volunteers; teachers; medical staffers (i.e. nurses, physician assistants, etc.); clergy; and related entities will provide additional opportunities from citizens in isolated and remote parts of the Delta to become engaged with MDGC.

§ Expanding the Selection Process – MDGC’s focus is on the entire eight (8)-state 240-county/parish DRA coverage area. The current selection process is perceived to be more of a “politically driven” (Gubernatorial appointments) rather than individuals from all sectors of society having an opportunity to participate in this leadership training. By expanding the application/selection process to include all sectors of the Delta will reflect a true representation of Delta citizens.

§Collaboration – by expanding the DRA Leadership Institute may lead to greater collaboration by entities (i.e. community colleges, four-year institutions, etc.) responsible for providing the leadership development and/or training. This in itself will create more win-win opportunities for post-secondary institutions to collaborate in bringing about systemic change throughout the region.

§ Economic Development, Education, and Public Policy – these are three (3) areas of the numerous focal points are captured beautifully in the Strategic Plan. By expanding the DRA Leadership Institute to include more participants may provide additional opportunities to engage in discussions designed to identify/implement solutions to these long-standing challenges that adversely impact impoverished areas throughout the Delta.

§ Inclusion/Diversity – expansion of leadership development throughout the 8-state region has value via inclusion and diversity. Expansion of the DRA Leadership Institute will help to diminish the historical barriers of race, gender, age, and social status that have stifled progress throughout the region. Regional leadership development/training will also enable citizens throughout the region to find common ground, heighten awareness, and facilitate the development of new alliances within the region.

The Expansion of Regional Leadership Development should include individuals from grassroots organization throughout the DRA coverage area. Furthermore, this request specifically includes annual appropriations from the Departments of: Commerce (DOC); Justice (DOJ); Housing &Urban Development (HUD); Health &Human Services (HHS); and, related Agencies that encourage regionalism and/or community relations including the White House Initiatives for Faith-Based Communities to provide funding of not less than $6 million dollars annually to expand regionally-based leadership development/training.

I am available to respond to any and all questions, comments, or concerns by you and others. Again, thank you for an outstanding MDGC Strategic Plan. Dr. Obadiah Simmons, 318.274.6278 wk, 318.278.7592 cp, MGDC Louisiana Co-Coordinator