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.

National Economic Equality Coalition Conference Update: May 11-12, 2016

Posted on March 03, 2016 at 01:20 PM

The national Economic Equality Coalition conference in Washington, DC on May 11-12, 2016 features Members of Congress and high-level representatives of major Presidential campaigns, as well as grassroots advocates from across the country.

Among the speakers will be Members of Congress of both parties from across the country, such as Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the national Whip in the US House of Representatives; Congressman James Clyburn (D-MD), third-ranking leader in the House; Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) representing the heart of the east Arkansas Delta; Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), senior member of the Appropriations Committee; many other Members of Congress from the Southwest region, the Midwest, other areas of the eight-state Delta region, the Mid-Atlantic region, and across the country. We are getting more confirmations in all the time and will keep updating this.

We have national policy organizations such as Hunger Free America, the national Housing Assistance Council, Feeding America, Chicanos por La Causa, DC Central Kitchen, Bread for the City, California Rural Legal Assistance, the national Rural LISC, the National Congress of American Indians, the Delta Caucus, and major Hispanic, African American, women and children’s issues organizations, and many others.

We will have a bipartisan forum for high-level representatives (usually governors or Members of Congress) from whoever the remaining viable, major Presidential candidates are as of May 11-12. The field will be reduced to likely four or so candidates by then, so we can have a much more manageable forum for a small number of candidates, in contrast to the situation fairly recently when there were 15 or more candidates.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus is one of the key partners along with many other organizers from all over the country for the national Economic Equality Coalition (EEC) conference; the EEC steering committee is listed at the end of this message.

The conference is national in scope, and in particular will highlight the eight-state Greater Delta region from Missouri and Illinois to New Orleans and eastward to the Alabama Black Belt; the Southwest Border from California, Arizona and New Mexico to Texas; the Midwest from Iowa to Ohio; Native Americans; Appalachia; New York; the Washington,DC/Maryland/Virginia region, Florida; and inner cities such as Ferguson, Missouri, Charleston, South Carolina, Washington, DC, Baltimore 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. This is a very diverse coalition including many African Americans, Hispanics, women, Native Americans, and people from all racial, ethnic, gender and


You register by sending in the registration fees to the address below.

Registration fees are $125 for each individual. For those who have paid their annual dues, registration is reduced to $100.

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

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, Maryland 20601

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.

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.


House session: Opening session is Wednesday evening, May 11, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., B-340 Rayburn US House of Representatives building

Senate session: Thursday morning, May 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., US Senate Russell building Caucus Room 385

Closing session: Thursday afternoon, May 12, from 11:45 A.M. TO 3:45 P.M. Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill near the US Supreme Court

Lunch is from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Parish Hall of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 E. Capitol

Closing session is in the sanctuary of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.


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.

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 is 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;

Kay Goss, former Associate Director of FEMA in the Clinton administration, nationally recognized expert on disaster relief and emergency services, noted author and educator;

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

• Moises Loza, executive director, the national Housing Assistance Council, headquarters in Washington, DC;

• 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;

David Adame, CEO, Chicanos por La Causa, Hispanic organization active across Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada;

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

Native Americans (the National Congress of American Indians, Jacqueline Pata from Alaska, is one of our speakers;

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

• 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.