Fortune Cultural Center co-founder Gilda Rogers, left, and Councilman Michael Ballard. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Red Bank’s Democrats have formed a Black caucus to “bring forward future civic leaders.”

The party announced the group’s formation on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The caucus’ mission, according to a prepared statement, is “to advance, educate and train members to engage in the Democratic process, and ultimately bring forward future civic leaders and field future candidates.”

The caucus arose from a workshop session with African-American community members that Councilman Michael Ballard “engaged to discuss local issues with,” said party chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich.

Ballard and Gilda Rogers, co-founder of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, were the only announced members. Zipprich told redbankgreen that “a number of people” in the party are volunteering to participate.

“It is important to engage our community in civics to help people learn the process of how local, state and national government operate,” Rogers said in the statement.

The caucus will also “gather facts on quality of life issues such as employment, public housing and infrastructure, which will ultimately educate community leaders and elected officials to needs of residents,” the announcement said.

What  other caucuses does the local party have? “This is the first of several groups the Democratic party of Red Bank hopes to organize,” Zipprich told redbankgreen.

In the November election, Zipprich and Ballard ran unopposed, ensuring that Democrats would hold all council seats, as well as the mayoralty, for the third consecutive year.

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