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.

Please RSVP for Nov. 4-5 Economic Equality Coalition in Washington, DC

Posted on July 17, 2015 at 05:15 PM

Please RSVP and register as soon as possible for the national conference led by the Economic Equality Coalition, Nov. 4-5, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

We have limited spaces available and are partnering with several other similarly situated regions across the country, and spaces will have to be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis.

We will have to rely on those of you on this list to RSVP to this message and we will not be able to send out large numbers of individualized invitations as we have done in the past. The demand and interest levels for this event are much higher than usual.

Please reply to this email, or by phone at (202) 360-6347.

The Capitol Hill meeting rooms in the House and Senate seat over 100 people. The closing session is at the sanctuary of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill (address is 212 East Capitol St., NE 20003) a block from the US Supreme Court will accommodate a considerably larger number, but our Delta colleagues will want to be there for all three sessions.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus has agreed to join forces with other major economically distressed regions like Appalachia, the Southwest Border, distressed areas in the Midwest, and inner cities like Baltimore, St. Louis/Ferguson, Missouri, and the local Washington, DC itself in a national summit led by the Economic Equality Coalition, on Nov. 4-5, 2015 in Washington, DC.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus is one of the founding partners of the national Economic Equality Coalition, with collaborating organizations in all of the regions listed above as well as in other communities across the country.

This collaborative approach is similar to the Clinton administration’s New Markets Initiative, which included Appalachia, the Delta, Southwest Border, Midwest, Native Americans, and economically distressed inner city neighborhoods, in the belief that it should be a national priority to eliminate the situation where these populations lag far behind the rest of America in opportunity and prosperity.

For the conference as a whole, 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.

NOTE: There wil NOT be any Presidential campaign representatives at the House or Senate sessions, pursuant to Congressional rules. The Presidential campaign speakers will be at the session outside of Congressional property, at the church location near Capitol Hill.

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.


Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 opening session, 4:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., the Gold Room of the US House of Representatives Rayburn building.

Thursday morning, Nov. 5, 2015, 8:30 a.m. to 11a.m., US Senate Dirksen hearing room 106.

Closing session, Thursday afternoon, Nov. 5, 2015, noon to 3:45 p.m.; Luncheon at the Parish Hall from about 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.; then the main session from about 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m., sanctuary of the historic Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St., NE 20003, a block from the US Supreme Court.


You register by sending in the registration fees. They are $100 each for individuals, although if you can organize a group of five or more to register together, we will give a group discount down to $75 each.

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

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601


All attendees are responsible for arranging for their hotel and taxi or other transportation to the conference sessions.

Radisson at Reagan Airport is the group hotel: However, we do have a group hotel arrangement with the Radisson Hotel, Reagan National Airport, 2020 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA, 22202 for a group rate of $229, which by the admittedly expensive standards of hotels relatively close to Capitol Hill is a lower rate than most.

For those flying in to Reagan airport, it is a short taxi ride away.

This location is usually about a 15-minute drive to Capitol Hill although traffic patterns vary. There is a good restaurant there as well.

Please call the hotel at (703) 920-8600 and say you are with the Delta Caucus to get the reduced rate for Nov. 4, Wednesday.

There are also some rooms available for Thursday, Nov. 5.

If you prefer staying at another hotel, that is your choice. There are advantages to having a group of conference partners in the same place, and we have had good experiences at this location in earlier years.

We will see about getting some taxis to go to the group sessions.

This will be the first time in four years that the Delta Grassroots Caucus has 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 vital Delta communities, but also due to a widespread belief that with the sluggish economy and the partisan gridlock in Washington, DC, it just was not worthwhile to take an expensive, time-consuming trip to DC.

The situation is changing this year, first of all because the beginning of the Presidential election season has heightened interest in activism at the national level, because the next opportunity for major change in the Greater Delta Region will be with the next President and Congress, and we need to begin weighing in with them at the beginning of 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 some improvement in many of our partners’ budgets, enabling somewhat more funding for traveling to an event on Capitol Hill.

We should also recognize that although admittedly the gridlock in DC is still a major problem, if we weigh in collectively with so many similarly situated populations across the country, we may get at least some constructive actions for economic development.

There are vital pending issues including opening up farm trade to Cuba, funding for highways and other infrastructure improvements, small business job creation, health care for underserved populations, equal pay for equal work for women and other women’s issues, SNAP, school meals and other funding for USDA nutrition programs, and affordable housing.

There are differing views about the Trans-Pacific trade agreement in our various organizations, but we are better off and are likely to get at least a somewhat better result if we actively weigh in with the powers that be. Many of our colleagues believe that the trade deal will increase jobs in some sectors of the economy.

A package of aid for dislocated workers thrown out of work by changes caused by international trade has been included as part of the package, and this has increased the level of support for the Trans-Pacific deal in our coalition.

We will also advocate for strong labor, environmental and intellectual property safeguards in the final version of the deal. If those are not included, we reserve the right to oppose the deal in its final version.

There are also many who believe that this deal is essential for the long term in our efforts to compete with China.

Focus has to be both rural and urban: While much of the worst poverty in America is in the small towns and rural areas and Appalachia, the Greater Delta Region, Southwest Border, parts of the Midwest and other similarly situated regions are a major part of America’s poverty, we must include the inner cities in this conference, and we will have participation from a number of major urban areas like New York City, Washington, DC, Baltimore, St. Louis/Ferguson, Missouri, Memphis and New Orleans.

The powers that be in Presidential campaigns, Members of Congress and national economic development organizations will not pay full attention to an event that is either entirely rural or entirely urban. Their scope has to be national. What helps the Delta in our nation’s economic policies will help similarly situated populations in Appalachia, Southwest Border, the Midwest.

Even in the Greater Delta Region, we have always viewed the impoverished neighborhoods in New Orleans, Memphis, Little Rock 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.

Key participants and/or organizers thus far for the Economic Equality Coalition conference on Capitol Hill for Nov. 4-5, 2015 on Capitol Hill include:

•Lee Powell, steering committee 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;

•Melissa Cloud, Program Director, Public Policy 4Kids, based in the Washington, DC area;

•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, Principal, Golden & Associates, Presidential appointee at US DOT for Secretary Rodney Slater in the Clinton administration, former executive at the Xerox corporation in Washington, DC, 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;

•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 Monroe, Louisiana.

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.