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The mother of Trayvon Martin will be at the University of Utah this week as part of the school's Martin Luther King Jr. Day events.

Sybrina Fulton began speaking out around the country on racial and ethnic profiling after Martin, 17, was shot and killed in Florida by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of second-degree murder in July.

"Her story is not without controversy, but the university's interest here is to create a space where students, faculty, staff and the broader community can discuss this case," said U. spokeswoman Maria O'Mara, who called Fulton's talk "a very important dialogue."

Fulton will meet students and community members, as well as participate in a discussion with the audience at noon on Thursday in the ballroom at the Olpin Student Union Building, 200 Central Campus Dr.

Last year's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, which featured Jesse Jackson, was about King's legacy. This year U. officials concentrated on more recent events and young people in organizing a week of events honoring King.

The theme is "Beneath the Hoodie: A Look at Racial Profiling in America."

"The Trayvon Martin case, considering his youth, fits with ... the dialogue we want to have in the spirit of Dr. King's legacy about race and issues that affect the next generation," O'Mara said.

On the holiday itself, the U. will hold a March for Youth starting at 2 p.m. at the East High School auditorium, 840 S. 1300 East, and ending at Kingsbury Hall on the U. campus. Donations accepted at the end of the march will go to the Rev. France A. Davis Scholarship fund.

The following day, Jan. 21, Salt Lake City police Chief Chris Burbank will talk about positive youth development and community resistance to institutionalized racial profiling in a panel discussion with two U. researchers and Debbie Rocha, director of Salt Lake Early Intervention Services.

Racial profiling, O'Mara said, "is a topic that has particularly haunted people of color for generations."

For a full list of events, visit

Twitter: @lwhitehurst

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