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.

Economic Equality Coalition Conference Set for May 11-12, 2016 in Washington, DC

Posted on November 16, 2015 at 01:55 PM

The Delta Grassroots Caucus is one of the key partners for the national Economic Equality Coalition conference, which we are announcing is set for Washington, DC on May 11-12, 2016.

Key participants will include the major Presidential campaigns, Members of Congress, and economic and community development organizations from across the country.

The Economic Equality Coalition (EEC) focuses on those regions of the country who have experienced great economic inequality, including the Greater Delta Region, Appalachia, the Southwest Border, economically distressed areas in the Midwest, Native Americans, and some urban areas such as St. Louis/Ferguson, Missouri, parts of New York, Washington, DC and Baltimore, Memphis and New Orleans.

We will strengthen our collective voices if we join together with other major regions in urging the leading Presidential campaigns and Members of Congress from both parties to take much stronger action in fighting poverty, hunger and economic inequality across the country.

Key issues will include job creation at livable wages, health care for under-served populations, hunger and nutrition, affordable housing, transportation, broadband and other infrastructure investments to create job and improve our deteriorating infrastructure, renewable energy/energy efficiency, developing a well-trained and educated workforce, diversity and civil rights, and other vital initiatives for improving equality and opportunity.

By May 11-12, 2016, the number of Presidential candidates will have been greatly reduced and we will have a much clearer idea of who the likely nominees will be, as opposed to the current field of 17 or 18 candidates. We will ask high-level representatives from the leading campaigns to have a dialogue with us about what their candidate would do to reverse the alarming trend toward economic inequality in our country.

The conference will include sessions at the House, Senate, and a session at the historic Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill for a forum for Presidential campaigns.

The Capitol Hill meeting rooms in the House and Senate seat approximately 100 people, who will be influential economic policy advocates from across the country. The closing session will likely be at the sanctuary of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill a block from the US Supreme Court.

The collaborative approach among the major economically distressed populations is broadly similar to the Clinton administration’s bipartisan New Markets Initiative, which included Appalachia, the Delta, Southwest Border, Midwest, Native Americans, and economically distressed inner city neighborhoods.

There should be a vital national priority to eliminate the situation where these populations lag far behind the rest of America in opportunity and prosperity.

Key participants will be high-level speakers for the major Presidential campaigns from both parties, Members of Congress, and distinguished experts on vital issues related to economic equality, hunger, poverty and racial justice across the country.

The scope of this conference will be much broader-essentially national–than Delta regional events in the past, although the Delta Grassroots Caucus will be one of the key organizers. Leaders from the other regions agreed with the Delta Caucus that we can amplify our voices to the national powers that be by joining forces among those regions that have historically lagged far behind in America’s prosperity.

You register by sending in the $125 registration fees. Those who have paid their annual membership dues for 2016 ($25 for individuals or smaller organizations, $50 or $100 for larger organizations)have their fees reduced to $100.

Again, those who have paid their annual dues have the registration fees reduced to $100. Otherwise registration fees are $125 each.


You register by sending in the registration fees. They are $125 each, or $100 each for those who have paid annual membership dues for the period from November, 2015 through December, 2016.

Please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601


We have a reduced group rate at the Radisson at Reagan National Airport, which is relatively close to Capitol Hill and to Reagan airport, for Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

To get the reduced group rate of $189, please call the Radisson at (703) 920-8600 and say you are with the Economic Equality Coalition and Delta Coalition group.

The hotel’s full address is Radisson Hotel Reagan National Airport, 2020 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202.

Most people will only need to stay at the hotel one night, because they check in on Wednesday May 11 in early to mid-afternoon before the opening session, and then check out the next morning, and then go to the session that ends Thursday afternoon, May 12.

We also have a smaller number of rooms for Thursday May 12 for those planning to stay two nights.

May 11-12 is one of the busiest times of year in Washington, DC, so $189 is an excellent rate for a good, well located hotel for a spring-time conference in our nation’s capital.

The reservations deadline is April 18, 2016. If you miss this deadline there will probably not be any other rooms available at all at such a busy time at the hotel, and you will definitely not be able to get the reduced group rate.

This is optional and it is perfectly fine for anyone who prefers to stay at another location.

There are benefits, however, to having a substantial group staying together at one location. We will go in groups of taxi cabs to the sessions on May 11 and May 12.

We are working on the exact schedule, but it will likely begin late in the afternoon at about 4:30 p.m. until 7:45 p.m. at a US House of Representatives location on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, May 11.

Then the next session will begin at about 8:30 a.m. at a US Senate location until about 11 a.m.

Then we will go for the luncheon and the afternoon session at the historic Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill from noon to about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 12.

This will be the first time in four years that the Delta Grassroots Caucus and our partners have participated in a major conference in Washington, DC. We convened for our fall conference the last three years in Memphis, Tennessee, West Memphis and Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, to meet in those heartland Delta communities, but also due to a widespread belief that with the sluggish economy and the partisan gridlock in Washington, DC, it was then not worthwhile to take an expensive, time-consuming trip to DC.

The situation is changing, first of all because the Presidential election season has heightened interest in activism at the national level. The next opportunity for major economic change in the Greater Delta Region and across the USA will be with the next President and Congress, and we need to weigh in with them throughout the electoral cycle.

We are also seeing a major resurgence of interest in issues related to economic inequality, hunger, poverty and racial justice, which is very important for our diverse group that includes many African Americans, Hispanics, women and people from all racial, gender and geographic backgrounds.

Moreover, while the Delta and the other distressed regions that will be highlighted at this conference have not participated equally in the recovery from the recession, we are seeing at least some improvement in the economy in some areas. This is helpful to many of our partners’ budgets, enabling somewhat more funding for traveling to an event on Capitol Hill than in recent years.

Focus has to be both rural and urban: The national powers that be in Presidential campaigns, *Members of Congress and national economic development organizations take an approach to economic issues covering the entire country. Many issues regarding economic inequality are quite similar regardless of which region people live in.

Even in the largely small-town and rural Greater Delta Region, we have always viewed the impoverished neighborhoods in New Orleans, Memphis, Little Rock, Jackson and our other urban areas as part and parcel of our mission area, although we know that the worst poverty continues to be in the many small towns and rural areas across the region of eight states and 10 million people. The focus has to be rural and urban, and while there are differences, populations suffering from economic inequality have many common issues and challenges across the country.

Key participants and/or organizers thus far for the Economic Equality Coalition conference on Capitol Hill for May 11-12, 2015 on Capitol Hill include:

Lee Powell, steering committee co-chairman for the Economic Equality Coalition and executive director, Delta Grassroots Caucus;

Joel Berg, nationally recognized expert on hunger and poverty, Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger,;

Moises Loza and the national Housing Assistance Council, headquarters in Washington, DC;

Victor Vasquez, Presidential appointee at USDA for Presidents Clinton and Obama, now nonprofit leader in the Southwest Border region, which extends along the Rio Grande valley and beyond in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California;

Wilson Golden, Presidential appointee at US DOT for Secretary Rodney Slater in the Clinton administration, former executive at the Xerox corporation in Washington, DC, board member of the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, a native of Mississippi now residing in Georgia;

Barbara Leach of Iowa, Presidential appointee at USDA for Presidents Clinton and Obama at USDA, from Iowa and is knowledgeable about significant pockets of poverty in the Midwest;

Janis Kearney, author of a biography of the famous civil rights leader Daisy Bates, author, founder of Writing Our World Press in Little Rock, Arkansas, former White House aide and diarist to President Clinton;

Melissa Cloud, Program Director, Public Policy 4Kids, based in the Washington, DC area, currently with major childhood hunger activities in Florida;

Colleagues from the Appalachian region with whom we have worked for many years;

Minnie Bommer, long-time Delta regional advocate from west Tennessee, first African American woman elected to the city council of Covington, Tennessee;

Millie Atkins, manager of Century Link’s broadband access expansion in the Delta region, based in

This will be the broadest scope of any conference we have participated in for many years. Again, we believe we will make a bigger impact by joining forces with other major populations across the country who have not thus far participated in prosperity and economic equality in America.