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.

Strong Line-up for Nov. 18-19 Delta Conference; Please Send Registration Fees to Participate

Posted on September 07, 2021 at 12:37 PM

Preliminary List of Speakers and Need for Registration Fees ASAP

We are recruiting a strong line-up of participants for the Nov. 18-19 conference in Little Rock, but we have not received hardly any contributions in recent months and we have bills coming due. Please contribute ASAP.

As often happens, our contributions are late in coming in except when a conference is coming up soon, and that time frame is getting nearer. We have bills coming due and need to ask people to send in registration fees (and or larger sponsorship contributions in the $200 or larger range if you are so inclined).

Prelmininary list of key speakers: We have lined up a preliminary list of key confirmed participants and are working on getting many other confirmations. The event is now about two months away so we are getting recruiting into high gear for the next several weeks.

We are only asking for $50 in early registration fees before Oct. 15. If you would like to send in more please do so.

Some have generously contributed $100 or $75 in registration fees and that is greatly appreciated.

The easiest and fastest way to contribute is to go to the website at mdgc.us 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 have received a few contributions in the past few months from Billy McFarland of TS Police Support League in Alabama, long-time Delta advocate Wilson Golden, and Harvey Joe Sanner, so thanks to them and we hope others follow suit now.

We are all moving forward in spite of the pandemic and will keep encouraging the remaining people who have not been vaccinated to do so for the general welfare.

PLEASE GET VACCINATED AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO SO–the Delta region ranks at the bottom in vaccination rates: This is a highly contagious disease and people do not have the right to get others sick by going unvaccinated.

This is not a political issue but rather one of science and self-preservation for vaccination and ignorance on the side of currently healthy people who refuse to get vaccinated. Those who claimed not to be concerned about getting sick themselves have taken a different view in cases where they did get the virus, and even if they get a mild case they have no “freedom” to get others sick with a serious or even fatal disease.

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

Preliminary List of some key Participants and Speakers for Nov. 18-19, 2021 Delta Conference in Little Rock

As of Sept. 6, 2021

EAST CENTRAL ARKANSAS

Harvey Joe Sanner, Des Arc, Arkansas, president of American Ag Movement of Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK AND CENTRAL ARKANSAS

Ray Higgins, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Preston Clegg, (SPEAKER) Pastor, Second Baptist Church- Little Rock, AR, on Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s anti-poverty work

Rex Nelson, (SPEAKER) senior editor, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, former Federal Alternate Co-Chairman, Delta Regional Authority

Lee Powell, Executive Director, Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus

EAST CENTRAL ARKANSAS

East Central Enterprise Community, Forrest City and adjacent areas—Robert Cole, Mildred Barnes Griggs and others. (SPEAKER)

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, ARKANSAS

Randy Henderson, Nucor Yamato Steel

Priscilla Johnson, Mississippi County Economic Opportunity Commission, Blytheville

Cecil McDonald, MissCo EOC, Mississippi County Quorum Court

(INVITED) President James Shemwell, Vice Presidents Blanche Hunt and Pacey Bowens, Arkansas Northeastern College based in Blytheville–invited

Rep. Monte Hodges, Blytheville,

PHILLIPS COUNTY ARKANSAS

Beatrice Shelby, BGACDC nonprofit in Phillips County confirmed.

Anita Harrison, BGACDC

Kenneth Cox, BGACDC

Netasha Brown, BGACDC

Latina Taylor, BGACDC

KaChasity White, BGACDC

Several others from Phillips County invited, including Keith Pinchback, Phillips Community College of U of A

LOUISIANA

Millie Atkins, (SPEAKER) Delta Caucus board member, Monroe, Louisiana, veteran Delta regional advocate and formerly executive at CenturyTel working on broadband access expansion and many other initiatives;

MISSOURI

Mike Marshall, (SPEAKER) CEO, Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber and Economic Development Corp., former Federal Alternate Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority

ALABAMA

Billy McFarland, (SPEAKER) TS Police Support League, Eutaw, Greene County, Alabama

Sheila Smith, (SPEAKER) TS Police Support League, Eutaw, Greene County, Alabama

MISSISSIPPI

Wilson Golden, (SPEAKER) Georgia resident, Mississippi native;

Keith Fulcher (SPEAKER), President, Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi

. Dorothy Grady-Scarbrough, (SPEAKER), Executive Director, Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture (MEGA)

KENTUCKY

Al Cross, (SPEAKER) Director, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, University of Kentucky,

ILLINOIS

LYNN ANDERSEN LINDBERG, (SPEAKER) Interim Executive Director, OFFICE OF INNOVATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY, CARBONDALE, ILLINOIS

Last but not least, we have one of the foremost experts on hunger and poverty in America, Joel Berg, CEO, Hunger Free America (SPEAKER)

MANY OTHERS HAVE BEEN INVITED FROM ACROSS THE REGION

US. Sen. John Boozman, Gov. Asa Hutchinson were invited and other federal and state officials are invited

Delta Has Worst Vaccination Rates in USA; Please Get Vaccinated Now

Posted on August 26, 2021 at 03:30 PM

August 26, 2021

The Greater Delta has the worst vaccination rates against Covid-19 of any region in the USA, with four of the six worst states—Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas—and Tennessee at ninth worse. Five of the 10 worst states are in the Delta.

Please get vaccinated now. The Pfizer shot is now fully approved. The vaccine is powerfully effective at preventing serious cases or deaths from Covid-19, and its side-effects are mild.

Some key facts on the vaccine and the virus:

• If you live in areas like the Delta that have a low vaccination rate, you’re 4 times more likely to be hospitalized and more than 5 times more likely to die from the virus.

• As of August 19, 2021, almost 200 million people had taken at least one dose of the vaccine. For those who are fully vaccinated, 99.99% do not get hospitalized or die.

• The Delta ranks at the bottom of American regions in vaccination rates (see chart below). Many people have no side-effects from the vaccines, and when effects occur they are mild and temporary; soreness at the injection site, headache, fever, chills and fatigue that lasts a day or so.

• An increasingly large number of companies require their employers to be vaccinated, spurred by the announcement that Pfizer is fully approved.

• According to CNN, the 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates have only 41% of their people who have been fully vaccinated, as opposed to the 58% level in states with the highest rates.

The 10 worst states regarding vaccination levels are:

  1. Alabama

  2. Mississippi

  3. Wyoming

  4. Idaho

  5. Louisiana

  6. Arkansas

  7. West Virginia

  8. Georgia

  9. Tennessee

  10. North Dakota

Some people apparently pay more attention to testimony from people they know as opposed to rows of data or the “experts” like Dr. Fauci.

In that spirit, here are some experiences with the vaccine from a number of people who are well-known in our Greater Delta Region network:

–Mike Marshall, former Federal Alternate Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, now CEO of the Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber and Economic Development Corp. said he and his wife Beth “got our shots as soon as we could. My 65th Birthday was Feb.10th but we were able to both get ours first Pfizer shots on Jan. 25th and the second two weeks later. Never had a bit of a problem. We are ready to get our booster shot in October.”

–Millie Atkins, senior Delta Caucus adviser based in Monroe, Louisiana and a former senior official at CenturyLink before retiring, said that as an African American she initially had some reservations about taking the vaccine because of the history of African Americans “being used as pawns in the past, and not just the Tuskegee incident.” But she ultimately decided that the need to keep her family and herself safe was the crucial concern.

Ms. Atkins said she felt “a sense of freedom” after receiving the vaccine because she no longer had to be concerned about whether to take it or not. She had mild reactions to the vaccine consisting of headaches and off-and-on fever for 24 hours, which she resolved by taking Tylenol and fluids.

–Rev. Ray Higgins, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas in Little Rock, said “I’m so glad I got the vaccination. I had very minor side effects the day after the second shot. Very much worth it.”

–Delta Caucus Director Lee Powell had no side effects other than very mild soreness in his arms for a day.

–Wilson Golden, former US Dept. of Transportation official and Mississippi native, had virtually no side effects, with only minimal soreness at the injection site.

–Joel Berg, CEO, Hunger Free America and frequent speaker at Delta Caucus meetings: “I received both Moderna shots, and only had slight chills for about an hour the day after the first shot.” “It was more than well worth it to protect myself, as well as everyone I come into contact with, from the deadly disease of COVID-19. Because my job takes me into contact with low-income populations – who often have compromised immune systems and are thus at extra risk from the pandemic – it was especially important for me to get vaccinated so that I did not unintentionally get others sick.”

–Billy McFarland, nonprofit executive at TS Police Support League in Eutaw, Greene County, Alabama in the Alabama Black Belt, had no significant side effects.

–Harvey Joe Sanner, American Ag Movement of Arkansas based in Des Arc, Arkansas, had no problems from either shot and only very mild soreness in his arms.

Grassroots Partners Need to Weigh in on Redistricting to Avoid "Gerrymandering" and Assure Voting Rights, August 2021

Posted on August 19, 2021 at 04:23 PM

Congressional redistricting is a vital issue and all grassroots advocates need to stay informed about these issues and call for electoral districts that are fundamentally democratic in nature.

The Delta Caucus partners need to get informed about this as it receives increasing attention over the next six to nine months across our region.

This will be an important issue for the Delta Caucus now through the Nov. 18-19 conference either by Zoom or in Little Rock and into early next year.

There will always be some discretion involved, and many politicians will try to inject partisanship into this process. There is no one size fits all approach, but there are some basic principles, including:

1) Congressional districts are supposed to have equal populations to the extent possible.

2) Districts should be geographically contiguous to the extent possible. A district that has “fingers” and odd shapes winding all over the map may be an effort to dilute minority votes or otherwise tamper with democratic principles.

3) Districts cannot be “gerrymandered” to reduce the representation of minority voters. Examples of this are placing areas with substantial minority voters in different districts so that their votes are diluted in all of them.

4) Redistricting should be done in a way that permits voters of all demographic types to have their voices heard in the electoral process.

States generally develop their redistricting plans late in 2021 or early in 2022. Concerned citizens have the right to weigh in with their views in this process.

Please get informed about redistricting in your state at the Congressional as well as state levels and make your voice heard to each state’s decision makers in the redistricting process.

The Delta areas make up substantial parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, smaller parts of Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, and southern Illinois. Everybody has a democratic right to take part in this process in the district and state where they live.

In Arkansas, here are some basic changes in population in Arkansas as revealed in the census:

1)Northwest Arkansas gained much more in population than any of the other three districts, and so will have to lose some areas.

2) The rural east Arkansas First District and rural south and west Arkansas Fourth District lost population and will have to add areas.

3) The central Arkansas Second District, including Little Rock and several more suburban or rural counties, only gained slightly and should not change much.

A logical and fair result is that a geographically contiguous county (or whatever area is needed to make the four districts as equal as possible geographically) in the northwest Arkansas district should be added to the southern and western Fourth District, and similarly another northwest Arkansas district county should be added to the First District. The First and Fourth have to expand and the northwest has to contract.

In previous redistricting debates, the Delta Caucus has asserted that there should be one predominantly “Delta” district–in the sense of being mostly rural, agricultural and diverse–and that has historically been the First District. However, if the constitutional redistricting principles require a somewhat different result, of course those principles will have to be followed.

An initial view regarding the First District: Other reasonable suggestions might be considered, but the initial view is that the First District will likely need to add Marion County or another area in northern Arkansas that is currently part of the northwest AR district.

It would be difficult for the First District to add any area in the south and west because the Fourth District needs to expand as well. It would also be difficult to expand very much into the Second District, which should not change much because its population did not change much.

This process is fluid and we need to remain open to alternative plans: There are always a number of possible different configurations of how the four Congressional districts should be drawn up. We should analyze all suggestions and come up with a districting plan that follows principles of being reasonably contiguous, avoids any dilution of minority voters, have as equal populations as possible, and promotes the basic principles of participation in the democratic process.

Note: We should avoid and oppose any effort to push a redistricting plan for short-term, political advantage. Aside from violating the spirit if not the letter of the law, such efforts are counterproductive because political winds change all the time and what seems like a political advantage for one party or faction now might turn out to be a disadvantage at any point over the 10-year districting periods.

Political and demographic trends change over time and could make Democrats viable in one or two of the Arkansas Congressional Districts some years now, or the Republican domination of all districts may continue–it’s just unpredictable. We have to be nonpartisan about this.

The Second District has had somewhat closer results in recent years, and if Hispanic votes and others increase or change, this could lead to different outcomes. The northwest Arkansas district has a substantial Hispanic voting element that may increase, and population gains in the northwesternmost part of that district could change the equation.

Lessons learned from the redistricting after the 2010 census:

**A classic example of an ill-advised gerrymander was the effort to create a “Fayetteville finger” to add a narrow area extending far north and west of most of the Fourth District to add that to the Fourth in an effort to assist the Democrats–and especially then Congressman Mike Ross–to be re-elected.

This was pointless on multiple grounds: that district as a whole was trending strongly in a Republican direction, Congressman Ross had plans to run for governor and thus was not going to try to remain as Fourth District US Representative for the long term, and the gerrymandered, oddly shaped “Fayetteville finger” was a patent violation of democratic principles of resdistricting. It was of course rejected.

During that debate, the First District needed to gain ground, and could have done so either by adding territory in southeast Arkansas that was rural, mostly agricultural and diverse and broadly similar to most of the rest of the First District, or adding territory in the northwest Arkansas area that was hilly, much less diverse and not similar to most of the rest of the First District.

Delta Caucus partners at the time testified at hearings at the Arkansas State Capitol that the First District should expand into similar areas like Desha and Chicot counties to preserve the First District as the fundamental “Delta district” in Arkansas, rather than adding areas far to the north and farther west. This was the outcome at that time and we believe it was the correct one.

Today we should be careful to oppose any effort that would add areas in the Second District with substantial minority voters to one of the other districts that are less diverse. This would dilute black voting impact in the Second District without any increased impact in other districts. The overall impact would be an impermissible discrimination against black voters.

A NOTE ON THE SUPREME COURT RULING THAT COMPLICATES THIS ISSUE

In the current environment there are complications from US Supreme Court’s controversial 5-4 decision in Rucho v. Common Cause, 2019 and other decisions restricting voting rights: In this case the US Supreme Court deviated from previous precedents and ruled that partisan gerrymandering was fine, but of course could not deviate from the constitutional prohibition against racial discrimination that would dilute the impact of minority voters.

The Court ruled that it could not hear lawsuits challenging discrimination against parties–whether Democrat, Republican, Green or whatever–because that would violate the principle that the court cannot get involved in political questions.

The obvious problem with this ruling is that when gerrymandering efforts are made against one party that has the great majority of the minority voters’ support, the party supporting the gerrymander may very well be engaging in racial discrimination but will claim that they are doing so for political partisan reasons.

Over the course of American history, both parties have engaged in efforts at times to restrict voting of minorities. In the 1950s and 1960s, Southern segregationist Democrats sought to use any means they could–including gerrymandering electoral districts so that African Americans would be outvoted in every one of the districts. In more recent years, it has been Republicans who have sought to dilute African American voting impact.

Of course Republicans today will claim that they are not trying to dilute black votes, but only to enhance Republican votes at the expense of Democrats. In the earlier era, segregationist Democrats used various arguments to effectively undermine black votes.

The Rucho decision was wrongly decided and it can be hoped that it will be overturned if one vote on the Court changes in the future. As of now it is the law of the land, since the Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is.

The decision confuses the “political question” concept (that the Court does not decide strictly political questions) with the concept that the Supreme Court has to act as the objective umpire to make sure that the electoral process is functioning properly and thus allowing all voters to have their voices heard. This is the venerable principle of “political process theory.” The US Supreme Court most assuredly does have the jurisdiction to decide issues as to whether the electoral process is functioning in a democratic manner.

The current majority on the Court thus discarded a fundamental principle going back to 1938, when Justice Harlan Fiske Stone (who was a Republican, by the way) wrote in US v. Caroline Products that the Court would apply heightened scrutiny to laws or statutes that conflict with Bill of Rights protections where the political process has closed or is malfunctioning, and when regulations adversely affect “discrete and insular minorities.”

The Warren Court and subsequent Supreme Court decisions built upon this concept to uphold voting rights and other individual rights when the political process was malfunctioning.

The solution, of course, is not to permit dilution of minority votes in all cases.

Please have your voices heard and oppose any effort to dress up what is really a racially disciminatory voting scheme into just a political partisan effort to support one party over another.

In Mississippi, the current districting seems likely to stay the same, with Congressman Bennie Thompson’s district likely to remain majority Democratic and the others majority Republican.

There are other situations in the other states. Please advise as to what the situation is there for our information and contact your elected officials.

Please Support Greater Funding for WIC, Seniors & SNAP EBT Use at Farmers' Markets, August 2021

Posted on August 02, 2021 at 02:51 PM

Please contact Members of Congress, Biden administration and other officials of both parties and urge them to support funding increases for WIC Farmers Market, seniors’ farmers market, and use of EBT for SNAP at farmers markets.

These are highly beneficial programs that increase access to fresh, nutritious, affordable produce for many lower income people and provide markets for fruit and vegetable producers. Like most programs these markets saw their activities reduced during the pandemic but with more people getting vaccinated, wearing masks and practicing social distancing they are poised for expansion.

It is particularly effective for you to contact by email or phone the US representatives or senators from your district and state, because they pay attention to their constituents.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP):

–served about 1.2 million WIC participants in FY 2020, 15,109 farmers, 2,461 farmers’ markets and 2,150 roadside stands

–Current appropriation level is $18.548 million, with goals for increases of at least $24 million this year

–FMNP has grown from small levels when it was created in 1992 to participation in 40 states and nine US territories or Indian Tribal Organizations, including seven of the eight Delta states Those eligible for WIC FMNP are women, infants over 4 months, children who are certified to receive WIC program benefits, or who are on a waiting list for WIC certification.

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) use at farmers’ markets

SN–AP Participants spent $24.4 million in benefits redeemed at farmers’ markets in 2017, a strong upward trend by 35.2% increase over 2012.

–While the upward trend is a plus, many SNAP recipients do not know that farmers’ markets accept SNAP, so we need to contact Members of Congress, USDA and advocacy organizations like the national Farmers’ Market Coalition to advocate for broader information campaigns about Electronic Benefit Transfer access at farmers’ markets. Total spending by SNAP participants was $70 billion, so farmers’ markets’ use is still relatively small and has great room for growth.

–State government agencies negotiate contracts with payment processors to handle SNAP transactions. Contracts like these can have provisions for non-traditional businesses such as farmers’ markets with no-cost wireless SNAP processing equipment. If you or your organization would like to advocate for improvements in your state’s SNAP contract, contact the Farmers Market Coalition at policy@farmersmarketcoalition.org

Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)

–Served over 725,000 people in FY 2020, 14,767 farmers, 2,401 farmers’ markets, 2,316 roadside stands and 71 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs

–Funding level in F”Y 2020 is $19.38 million, with desired increases up to $24 million

–From its beginnings in the late 20th century as championed by the late, great Gus Schumacher and other nutrition and limited resource farmer advocates, today SFMNP operates in 45 states and 10 US territories and Indian Tribal Organizations

–Those eligible for SFMNP are low-income seniors, generally defined as being at least 60 years old and with household incomes not more than 185% of federal poverty income guidelines.

We welcome the promotion of Farmers’ Market Week. However, we need to be careful and accurate in our comments. In a mostly constructive special feature to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture wrote that “Farmers’ markets, long thought of as a niche affectation of suburban parking lots or roadside stands, truly came into their own over the past year.”

Actually, farmers’ markets have been gradually expanding for approximately the past 25 years, along with an improvement in public perceptions of these markets as constructive sources of nutrition, markers for farmers, and a positive social impact due to interactions in a public space.

Delta Caucus Executive Director Lee Powell served with the late Gus Schumacher and other farmers’ markets advocates at USDA during the 1990s, when we placed great emphasis on the WIC, seniors and SNAP EBT use at farmers’ markets. While there is still a lot of room for growth, we have come a long way since the 1990s in refuting the view that farmers’ markets are just a niche for a few farmers and customers.

WIC FMNP and other farmers’ market programs were founded in that era with bipartisan support.

We also did not find that all farmers’ markets “thrived” during the pandemic because they were outdoors. Our partners reported many markets experiencing lesser amounts of contact that were common among many activities during the height of the pandemic.

Nonetheless, an outdoor activity would likely not suffer as much as those that are indoors, so our markets did have a benefit in that sense to a limited degree.

There should be new customers introduced to farmers’ markets every year. A number of universities across the country conducted a survey finding that farmers’ markets had a 3% increase in first-time consumers, so that is another positive development.

We have invited a number of grassroots leaders involved in farmers’ markets, home gardens, farm-to-school and other local food systems initiatives for our Delta Regional Conference on Nov. 18-19, 2021 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The agenda will be sent out when we get closer to the time of the meeting.

BASIC SCHEDULE

OPENING SESSION: Thursday evening, Nov. 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Arkansas Capitol Rotunda.

FRIDAY, NOV. 19 SESSION: Friday morning and lunch, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library

REGISTRATION FEES

You register by paying the $50 registration fees.

If you can get a group of four or more we will further reduce the registration fees to $30 each.

The easiest and fastest way to register and pay your $50 registration fees is to go on the website at mdgc.us 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

GROUP HOTEL

The group hotel is the Holiday Inn Presidential in Little Rock, Arkansas.

To get the low group rate of $99 for the night of Nov. 18, please call the hotel at 501-375-2100 and say you are with the Delta Caucus group.

Thanks–Delta Caucus (202) 360-6347 or by emai at leepowell@delta.comcastbiz.net

Please RSVP for First Large-Scale Delta Conference Since Pandemic Hit, on Nov. 18-19, 2021 in Little Rock

Posted on June 30, 2021 at 12:33 PM

The first large-scale, in-person Delta conference since the pandemic hit is set for Nov. 18-19, 2021 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Space is limited so please RSVP and register by paying the registration fees as soon as possible.

The fastest and easiest way to register is to go to the website at mdgc.us and go to the PayPal link that says “Donate,” and pay the $100 registration fees.

If you can get a group of three or four people to register together we will give a group discount down to $60 each.

The opening session is at the Arkansas Capitol Rotunda, Thursday evening, Nov. 18, 2021 from 5 p.m. to about 6:50 p.m.

The Friday session is at the Clinton Library Great Hall on Friday morning and lunch, Nov. 19, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

An accurate head count is essential for planning purposes and we need to avoid logjams caused by having almost everyone register and RSVP at the last minute.

Speakers: We will be inviting grassroots leaders from the 8-state Delta Region, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Members of Congress, Biden administration officials and other concerned citizens to advocate for community and economic development in the region. We have started work on the agenda and will keep you posted as specifics are finalized.

Key issues will be job creation and retention at good wages, transportation, broadband access for underserved areas, housing and other infrastructure investments to generate jobs and repair our deteriorating infrastructure, health care for underserved populations as we recover from the pandemic, support for SNAP, school meals, WIC and other nutrition programs, Delta heritage tourism, diversity, education and workforce development, and related Delta regional subjects.

Diversity at the DRA: We support the Delta Regional Authority as an institution. We are working on the current issue of a lack of diversity at the senior state as well as federal levels, because 10 of the 11 senior state officials appointed by the governors are white and all six Presidential appointees as Federal Co-Chairman and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman in the DRA’s history have been white males. We need diversity in this agency representing a region with a large African American population, a relatively small but growing Hispanic population and other minorities.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson did respond very quickly with the appointment of a well-qualified African American woman, Ateca Foreman, to DRA Alternate for Arkansas. We have contacted the Biden administration and are continuing to have dialogues with the other seven governors. We believe we are slowly but surely making some progress and hope to have made much more progress well before the Nov. 18-19 conference and can report on that improvement at that time. If progress has not been made by then we will respond accordingly.

Please contact the governor’s office from your state and/or the Biden administration White House Office of Presidential Personnel and ask them to appoint African Americans, women and otherwise consider diversity in making appointments to the DRA.

REGISTRATION

You register by paying the $100 registration fees, if you have not already done so.

If you can get a group of three or four or more people to register together, we will give a group discount down to $60 each.

The fastest and easiest way to pay the registration fees is to go to the website at mdgc.us 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 our address in the Washington, DC area:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

GROUP HOTEL

If you need a hotel, we have a group discount at the Holiday Inn Presidential near the Clinton Library. To get the discount at $99, please call the hotel at (501) 375-2100 and say you are with the Delta Caucus group.

We have a limited number of rooms for the main night of Nov. 18.

The cut-off date to get the group rate is Nov. 1, although with the limited number the rooms may get filled up well before then so please call in your reservation as soon as you can.

Most people check out of the hotel on the morning of Nov. 19, go to the morning and lunch session that day and then head back home that afternoon or early evening.

If anyone would like to stay on Nov. 19 we have a very small number of rooms that night.

The hotel has a restaurant and is a short drive to the Arkansas Capitol and Clinton Library.

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