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Trayvon Martin rally at U of M expects 5,000

Jenny Belsito was outraged when she first heard the story of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old who was gunned down by a neighborhood watchman in Florida.

The Metro State student threw up a Facebook page announcing a local One Million Hoodies march, the campaign named after Geraldo Rivera infamously declared that Martin made himself a target by wearing a hoodie.

"I invited my friends and I thought it would be a couple dozen people," she says.

But the invite started spreading like wildfire.

As of this writing, the Facebook invite to the march has 5,072 RSVPs, with another 1,100 tentative participants. Belsito says she's been working with campus police to get the right permits, and that they've offered to set up portable bathrooms for tonight's event. She says this cooperation is important to her, since the point of the rally is not to come down on local cops.

"There' s no specific issue with the local police, I just think that racial profiling happens all the time," she says. "This is a good time to start looking at these problems."

The march has also attracted some prominent speakers. Belsito says the event will kick off with remarks from Marcus Harcus, a candidate for House District 58A. Brother Ali is also expected to be at the March and Belsito says he's asked to say a few words as well.

"Great hoodie weather today," Ali posted on his Facebook page. "SEE YOU THERE!"

The march convenes tonight at Northrop Plaza at 6 p.m. Belsito says that she's excited about the potentially huge turnout, but also hoping that the night goes smoothly.

"I'm hoping we can get the message across this is a peaceful rally," she says. "This is not a protest."

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