ATLANTA -- Hillary Rodham Clinton is coming to Atlanta.
The former secretary of State, first lady and Democratic Party presidential candidate will be honored with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Realizing the Dream Award.
"Mrs. Clinton has been close to us ever since I have been president of SCLC," said Charles Steele. "She has always been supportive of the work that we do and has always been a good role model."
The significance of Clinton's appearance as the 2020 race for the White House begins is not lost on Steele. Clinton lost the 2016 presidential race to Donald Trump. He beat her by 5 points in Georgia, but Clinton won every core metro Atlanta county.
Steele said that few of the more than two dozen candidates fighting for the 2020 Democratic nomination have talked about poverty and the wealth gap.
"Instead of talking about poor people and poverty, most of the candidates used code words like income inequality, Medicare for All, free college tuition and programs for working families," Steele said. "Most politicians and people in power are reluctant to speak up for the poor, even though new reports show that Wall Street is booming, more Americans are employed, and the rich are getting richer. Meanwhile, the number of poor Americans is also getting larger."
Steele invited several of the candidates to speak at the convention, but none have confirmed.
"We don't want to make the convention too political, but we are always open to them," Steele said.
The SCLC's 61st annual convention is in Atlanta July 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Clinton will be presented the Realizing the Dream award at SCLC Women's Empowerment Luncheon July 19.
The theme of this year's meeting is "Maintaining the Global Village: Housing, Health and Our Common Humanity," and Steele said the organization will unveil plans for a new program to provide affordable housing in neglected areas of the United States.