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 Greater Delta Region Conference in West Memphis, April 25-26, 2019

Posted on January 31, 2019 at 01:58 PM

Please RSVP for the Greater Delta Region conference in West Memphis by email at or to (202) 360-6347.

Space is limited. Schedule, registration and group hotel information are below in this email.

The opening session is Thursday evening, April 25, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the ASU Mid-South Marion Berry Building, and then Friday morning and lunch, April 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the same location.

Key issues: Among the key issues will be job creation at good wages, infrastructure improvements, education/workforce development, downtown revitalization and Delta Heritage tourism.

We will also be continuing our longstanding advocacy for USDA programs in nutrition, rural development and agriculture, health care, support for the Delta Regional Authority, and the pressing serious of issues we have on agricultural trade with opening up trade to Cuba, maintaining our trade with Mexico and Canada, and other trade issues with their impact on agricultural exports.


Registration fees are $100–$75 for registration fees and $25 for annual membership dues.

You register by paying the registration fees/dues.

The easiest way to pay is to go to the website at and go to the PayPal link at the top of the site that says “Donate.”

If you prefer to pay by check, please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601


We were able to negotiate the very low group hotel discount rate of $69 at the Clarion Inn in West Memphis for April 25.

To get the group discount rate of $69, call the Clarion Inn at (870) 735-4055 and tell them you are with the Delta Caucus group.

The conference is still three months away so we are in the early stages of putting the program together, but among our early confirmed speakers and others who have participated in the past are included:

–Mayor Jim Strickland of Memphis, the biggest city of our region;

–Our host, Chancellor Debra West of Arkansas State University Mid-South, who is doing excellent work in preparing people for well-paying jobs in our region;

–Mike Preston, Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), who is doing a great job of bringing jobs and investment to Arkansas;

–Rex Nelson, senior editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette who has written many constructive columns about downtown revitalization and Delta heritage tourism projects that not only generate tourist dollars for the region but educate people about our great legacy, and a former Alternate Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority;

–Shelby County, Tennessee Mayor Lee Harris;

–Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis (invited), one of the most senior Democratic Members of Congress, as well as senior Republican Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton who will also be invited—Members of Congress usually confirm much later in the process;

–Other Members of Congress and high level officials including Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell (invited) from the region from both parties;

–President David Rudd, the University of Memphis;

–Zoe Savitsky, Deputy Legal Director, Southern Poverty Law Center, New Orleans, Louisiana;

–Mike Marshall, CEO of the Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber of Commerce and economic development corporation, another former Alternate Federal Co-Chair of the DRA;

–President Valmadge Towner of Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, Mississippi;

–Mayor Chuck Espy of Clarksdale, Mississippi;

–Wilson Golden, board member of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation in Mississippi, and a colleague of Caucus director Lee Powell when they were Presidential appointees in the Clinton administration and two of the four senior managers of President Clinton’s Delta Regional Initiative;

–Brad Cole, executive director of the Municipal League for the state of Illinois;

–Millie Atkins, community leader and senior Delta Caucus adviser from Monroe, Louisiana;

–Mayor Sheldon Day of Thomasville, Alabama in the Alabama Black Belt;

–Alan Gumbel of the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce;

–Arnetta Macklin of the Memphis Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA);

–Mayor Pro Tem and City Commissioner Richard Abraham of Paducah, Kentucky;

–Randy Henderson of Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas in Blytheville, Arkansas;

–Priscilla Johnson, executive director of the Mississippi County Economic Opportunity Commission in Blytheville;

–Sen. David Wallace of Leachville, AR; Rep. Monte Hodges of Blytheville; Rep. Chris Richey of Helena and other state legislators;

–Mayor Kevin Smith of Helena, Arkansas;

–President Terri Lee Freeman or another senior official of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis (invited);

–Porter Briggs, advocate for the White River Bridge in Clarendon and other Delta heritage tourism initiatives;

–Mark O’Mell, executive director of the East Arkansas Crossroads Coalition based in Wynne;

–Other grassroots partners from the 8-state Greater Delta region.

We have greatly shortened this conference so that it is a relatively brief opening session in the evening and then just the morning and lunch the next day. We have entirely eliminated the afternoon session in deference to the smaller and smaller attention spans of our Twitter-Facebook-Instagram world nowadays.

This has greatly reduced the issue we had at times in earlier years of people leaving early, which they especially tended to do in the afternoon session–we solved that by not having an afternoon session.

We would ask that people not leave early before the end of the two sessions–especially at the luncheon–because we don’t want people to be walking out just before the concluding speakers–and the luncheon in particular is one of the most important parts of the program.

This is by invitation only and is for not more than 100 influential, knowledgeable leaders from across the region. This is the right size for this event because it is large enough to be a significant number but small enough for each invitee to feel like they are an important part of the whole. We emphasize quality over quantity.

The location on the campus will be the Marion Berry Building and we will get exact directions to that building when it gets closer to the time.

If you need the exact address, that is:

ASU Mid-South

Marion Berry Building

355 North College Boulevard

West Memphis, Arkansas 72301


We were able to negotiate the very low group hotel discount rate of $69 at the Clarion Inn in West Memphis for April 25.

To get the group discount rate of $69, call the Clarion Inn at (870) 735-4055 and tell them you are with the Delta Caucus group.

Many people will just stay the night of April 25, but if you can stay an extra night to see the extraordinary Delta heritage tourism sites in the Memphis/West Memphis area, you can also get that low rate for Friday, April 26. You would pay far more than that for a hotel just minutes across the Mississippi River in Memphis.

The Clarion Inn is just minutes away across the Mississippi River from Beale Street and the National Civil Rights Museum.

Just FYI–The Memphis/West Memphis area has many great tourist attractions, including the National Civil Rights Museum, Beale Street, Graceland, the Harahan bridge from West Memphis to Memphis where you can walk across the Mighty Mississippi, and if you are interested in history–the new Sultana steamboat disaster museum near ASU Mid-South in Marion, Arkansas. The Sultana was the worst maritime disaster in US history—the captain recklessly overloaded the boat with Union soldiers trying to return home from Confederate prisoner of war camps, the faulty boiler was not properly repaired, and the boat exploded with massive loss of life.

The National Civil Rights Museum and Beale Street are truly iconic attractions that should be on everyone’s bucket list to visit.

If you can possibly work it into your schedule, we are encouraging everybody to stay a little longer after the conference ends at Friday lunch on April 26 to see the many historic sites in this local area. You can also get the low group rate for April 26.

Thanks so much. Lee Powell, Executive Director, Delta Grassroots Caucus (202) 360-6347