As thousands of Republicans talk politics in Tampa Bay this week, one group within the party wants to make its presence known.
Black Republicans met Wednesday afternoon at Stetson University's College of Law to discuss how to diversify the GOP.
Over glasses of iced tea, the conversation wasn't sugar-coated.
"You stand out in a crowd of black folks. You're almost like the devil incarnate, if you're a black Republican," Eddie Adams said Wednesday.
But these Republicans say the key to the future of the party is to attract a more diverse crows.
"The survival of the Republican Party depends on the tent being enlarged," Forum speaker Carol Swain said.
While black delegates are far from dominant at this week's convention, some of the party's most prominent faces don't fit a stereotype. Revered Republican Condoleezza Rice was seated right next to Presidential nominee Mitt Romney Tuesday night, and Democrat-turned-Republican Artur Davis has some politicos saying he stole Tuesday night's show.
Still, some at Wednesday's forum say the party has a long way to go in recognizing black Republicans.
"One of the things I hear, oftentimes, is what is going to be our return on our investment? Because there's a perception obviously, that's fairly accurate, that the black community is overly Democratic and supportive of Obama," Forum participant Timothy Johnson said Wednesday.
Leaders say one way to create change is by appealing with conservative policies that are important to the people.
"I really believe that Republican ideas create opportunities that can bring people out of poverty and teach them how to fish, rather than feeding them for a day," Swain said.
Forum participant Kevin Daniels says those ideas need to be driven home by the faces that help make the party tick.
"Where's Colin Powell? Where's Clarence Thomas? There are blacks that were special assistants to Richard Nixon, that helped him capture 21 percent of the black vote. Where are those people?" Daniels asked.
Wednesday's forum was organized by the Ebony Elephant Foundation of Pasco County and the New Century Republicans of Hillsborough County.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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