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.

Congress, Presidential Campaigns, Leaders across the USA for Economic Equality Event in Washington, DC, Nov. 4-5

Posted on September 03, 2015 at 12:12 PM

The Delta Grassroots Caucus is one of the driving forces for the national Economic Equality Conference 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. Space is filling up.

Please RSVP today by replying to this email at or calling (202) 360-6347, and then registering. Registration information is below in this message.

The basic concept is to join forces with similarly situated regions like the Greater Delta Region who have also not shared equally in America’s prosperity, such as Appalachia, the Southwest Border, the Midwest, and economically distressed areas in regions that are generally thought to be more prosperous but in fact have extremes of wealth and poverty in close proximity to each other, including New York, the Washington, DC/Baltimore area, and parts of Florida.

Their views on job creation and economic equality tend to be similar to ours in the Delta, and we will amplify our voices to the national powers that be by joining forces with them.

This is bipartisan and interfaith.

If you are interested in only one or two of these subjects, scroll down to that section; each one of them has a large heading.










House session: Opening session is Wednesday evening, Nov. 4, from 4:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Gold Room of the House Rayburn building.

Senate session is Thursday morning, Nov. 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m at Senate Dirksen Hearing Room 106.

Closing session is at the historic Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill near the US Supreme Court, 11:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Luncheon is from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the main session is in the sanctuary from 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Part of the Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill session will consist of hearing from front-running Presidential campaign speakers.


There are a large number of initiatives being recommended to fight economic inequality, hunger and poverty. Based on feedback from many partners across the country, among the key issues that will be covered are:

–job creation at solid wage levels,

–health care for underserved populations,

–support for full funding for SNAP, school meals, summer meals, WIC, and other major nutrition programs;

–women and children’s issues, due to the continuing gap in pay for equal work between men and women, and the alarmingly high poverty rates for single women and children, especially African American and Hispanic children;

–investments in affordable housing, transportation, broadband access and other infrastructure to create jobs and improve our deteriorating infrastructure;

–immigration and a legal path to citizenship;

–civil rights and racial justice;

–and renewable energy, energy efficiency and green jobs.

As a smaller-scale but nonetheless important issue, we support opening up trade to Cuba, which was formerly a huge market for American agricultural products and will provide a new and growing market when the counterproductive embargo policy ends. The embargo has done nothing to undermine the Castro regime and after 50 years of a failed policy it’s time for a change to help American producers.


We have an impressive line-up of speakers already and will be confirming more when Congress returns from recess next week: the National Whip of the US House of Representatives, Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD) has already confirmed, as have Sen. John Boozman and Rep. Rick Crawford (AR). We have invited many other Members who have virtually all participated when we invited them in the past, including Sen. Thad Cochran (MS), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, (MS), Rep. Steve Cohen (TN), Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA), Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO), Rep. Terri Sewell (AL), and others in the Delta.

To broaden our geographical reach, we are inviting Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (TX) who represents a large section of the Southwest Border; Rep. Dave Loebsack from Iowa, Rep. Steny Hoyer (National Whip who has already confirmed as mentioned above), Rep. Elijah Cummings from Baltimore, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton from Washington, DC, Rep. James Clyburn from Charleston, South Carolina.


For the Lutheran Church of the Reformation session from 11:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., we will have high-level speakers from only the front-running Presidential campaigns as of Nov. 4-5. We can’t include all of the many candidates so we will only have the five or six front-running campaigns.

We have been in touch with five or six of the front-running campaigns. Names of the surrogate speakers will be released much closer to the actual time of the event. Invitations are based strictly on polling data and other indications of support, and not positions taken by any of the candidates.

Due to time limitations, thus far we have invited on the Republican side Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, and Mike Huckabee; on the Democratic side Secretary Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, but may add one more if another major candidate surges on that side of the aisle.

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 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.

This collaborative approach is similar to the bipartisan approach of 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.

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.


Distinguished organizations who will be represented and/or have speakers:

–Joel Berg, Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, based in New York but has programs across the USA, including some beneficial projects in the Delta Region;

–Moises Loza, Executive Director, the Housing Assistance Council based in Washington, DC, conducts programs in the Delta, Southwest Border, Midwest, Native American populations and across the country;

–Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Executive Director, Ohio Association of Food Banks, including the large Appalachian area in Ohio;

–Victor Vasquez, director of VIDA nonprofit in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, high-level executive at USDA national headquarters in Washington, DC during both the Clinton and Obama administrations;

–Rev. Dwight Webster, Hurricane Katrina survivor and community leader in New Orleans, Senior Pastor, Christian Unity Baptist Church in downtown New Orleans;

–Melissa Cloud, (originally from Louisiana) Founder and Program Director, Public Policy 4Kids, a children’s issues organization headquartered in the Washington, DC area, currently focusing on Florida;

–Wilson Golden, a Mississippi native, board member of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, former Presidential appointee in the Clinton administration in US Dept. of Transportation in then Secretary Rodney Slater’s office, now based in the Atlanta area;

–Kay Goss, Associate Director of FEMA for President Clinton, author of a biography of Chairman Wilbur Mills,( a key architect of the passage of Medicaid and Medicare in the 1960s), many other books, nationally recognized expert on disaster relief, author and educator, originally from Arkansas, now based in Virginia in the Washington, DC area;

–Janis Kearney, former senior White House aide, author of a biography of the famous civil rights leader Daisy Bates and many other books, founder and publisher of Writing Our World Press in Little Rock, Arkansas;

–Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest Native American organization in the USA;

–Feeding America affiliates;

–Food Research and Action Center;

–George A. Jones, CEO, Bread for the City, Washington, DC;

–Michael Curtin, CEO, DC Central Kitchen;

–California Rural Legal Assistance, based in Oakland, CA, active across the state;

–David Adamwe, Chicanos por la Causa, based in Phoenix and active across Arizona;

–Share Our Strength, national hunger organization, Jen Jinks, senior program director for hunger issues;

–The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities;

•INVITED: Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina;

•INVITED: Missouri Office of Community Engagement, working on race relations issues in Ferguson, Missouri.

•We have invited additional Hispanic organizations like National Council of La Raza, LULAC, and the United Farm Workers;

•Rev. Michael Wilker, senior pastor, Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill (routine disclaimer-the fact that we have reserved space at the Lutheran Church does NOT mean that the church agrees with everything the speakers say at the conference);

•Organizations focusing on women and children’s issues, due to the continuing reality that women make approximately 77 cents to the dollar for what men make, and the alarmingly high poverty rates for single women and children, especially African American and Hispanic children.


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

Late registration fees go up to $130 each after Sept. 30, 2015, to avoid getting all the registration fees in right before the conference, which causes logistical problems.


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 Radisson at Reagan Airport 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, Native Americans, women and people from all racial, gender and geographic backgrounds.

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, Presidential appointee at USDA in the Clinton administration;

•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, Presidential appointee at US DOT for Secretary Rodney Slater in the Clinton administration, board member of the University of Mississippi William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, 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.