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.

Lack of Racial Diversity at the Delta Regional Authority Federal and State Levels Must End NOW

Posted on November 11, 2021 at 02:47 PM

“Lack of Diversity at the Delta Regional Authority Needs to be Corrected Now”

CONTACT: Delta Caucus Executive Director Lee Powell (202) 360-6347 or Harvey Joe Sanner, President of the American Ag Movement of Arkansas (501) 516-7000

The Delta Caucus partners call on President Biden to address the lack of diversity at the Delta Regional Authority by appointing a well-qualified African American as Federal Co-Chairman now. All seven Presidential appointees thus far in the agency’s 20-year history have been white.

The governors should similarly appoint more African Americans as state alternates and designees. Currently 10 of the 11 state senior appointees are white, with only Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s appointee, Ateca Foreman, being an African American.

“The DRA is a fine agency and we support its basic mission. We have commended Gov. Hutchinson for his appointment at the DRA that improved its diversity, but Arkansas is the only state with an African American and the federal appointees have been all white for 20 years now,” said Delta Caucus Executive Director Lee Powell.

All seven of the Presidentially-appointed Federal Co-Chairs and Alternate Federal Co-Chairs in the DRA’s 20-year history have been white, and this is absurdly tone-deaf for a highly diverse region with a large African American population as well as other minorities.

“While we commended the Biden administration’s appointment of Alternate Federal Co-Chairwoman Leslie Durham as the first woman federal appointee at the agency, the white domination of the senior posts remains an issue. it sends a message that the agency does not care about diversity or is oblivious when they have had all white federal appointees for 20 years now,” Powell said.

Harvey Joe Sanner, president of the American Ag Movement of Arkansas based in Des Arc, said “Above all, what people in the Delta are asking for is fairness. It’s not fair to pick practically all white people for the agency’s senior posts, just as it’s not fair that the DRA is under-funded.”

Four of the governors can improve diversity at the agency by appointing an African American as state representatives to one of the open posts of alternate or designee at the DRA in Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The governors serve as board members and of course they hold their posts due to elections, but the other state and federal senior posts are appointed either by the governors or the President.

“This situation can easily and quickly be addressed by finally appointing African-Americans to these posts,” Powell said.