Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (Susan Walsh/AP)
FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2014 file photo, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is seen at the RNC winter meeting in Washington. Priebus says the GOP is ready to lead. He delivered a speech at Georgetown University on Thursday outlining a series of “unifying goals” that included an improved immigration system, a strong national defense and conservative family values, among other priorities should Republicans win the Senate majority and make other gains on Election Day. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (Susan Walsh/AP)
In this Jan. 24, 2014 file photo, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is seen at the RNC winter meeting in Washington. Priebus says the GOP is ready to lead. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (Susan Walsh/AP)

Wesley Lowery, THE WASHINGTON POST

It was an at-times tense but by all accounts probing conversation when a few hundred gathered here recently in a downtown warehouse space outfitted with projectors, folding chairs and a modest stage.

The two-hour forum was not unlike the scores of conversations on race that have taken place in community forums, on barstools and across kitchen tables throughout the country in recent months and years, fueled by the election of the nation’s first black president and a renewed focus on policing of black communities in light of the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown shootings.

Voices were raised, ovations were given, disagreements were hugged out. Few solutions were uncovered — but no one really expected them to be on this night.

What made the recent event stand out from other public forums was that the dialogue was facilitated and organized entirely by Republicans.

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