Marlene Paez Dukes
“Be a champion to those who get forgotten..”
With a small CM/Chicago crew at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in its first hybrid live event, Cory Dukes spoke as part of a series on the theme of being an Underdog. Streaming via Zoom, Cory shared a personal, electrifying story of his life and how the underdog persona ultimately led him to become a strong community leader and advocate, working with underserved Chicago youth through the Alternative Schools Network. Growing up in Japan, feeling that being a loner was his birthright, he found comfort and joy in comics, manga, graphic novels, martial arts, and his imagination. Moving stateside and to the Southside of Chicago, Cory witnessed firsthand the purposeful and driven subjugation of residents, in particular teens and young adults. Sharing stats with the audience, including the fact that 45% of Chicago youth do not have a job and are not in school, he emphasized “[we] gotta champion these youth because I know where they came from… be a champion to those who get forgotten.” Cory urged the audience to continually improve ourselves and the lives around us, “I’ve felt like an underdog for most of my life.. And the biggest thing [I’ve learned] is to think outside the box. This is a creative community.. Apply what you’ve learned to support others… [because] the best part of an underdog story is that there is a triumphant victory.” If you are interested in working or volunteering with ASN, visit their homepage for more information.