Classie Dudley

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Classie Dudley - Age: 30, Community Action Duluth, Duluth NAACP

Classie Dudley.jpg
Classie Dudley

What do you do professionally? 
Executive director of Community Action Duluth.

How are you involved in the community? 
I am the president of the Duluth NAACP.

What is important to you? 
My involvement in the community is extremely important to me because it is, in my opinion, where a lot of the work gets done. It feels good to be in the community, see where the needs are and then be able to help people and meet people where they are at, or come together with people and make change happen, or meet people, have really great connections and create really beautiful things.

Classie Dudley
Duluth NAACP President Classie Dudley

How do you spend your free time?
I have a bunch of animals — my fur babies — that I enjoy at my house.

Favorite things about living and working in the Northland? 
My favorite thing about being in this area is that it’s small enough to really institute different policies or try something new, but it’s big enough where we can be a model for the rest of the country.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming professionals?
It’s OK to be vocal, to create the change you need and to stand up for yourself, and to hold yourself and other people accountable. We really need up-and-coming people to be the leaders of change in our community.

Favorite moment in life?
A huge pivot point in my life was when I became president of NAACP. It allowed me to do a lot of great things in the community as well as connect with a lot of amazing people. I also got to work with a board and an amazing team of advocates. That was really special for me. We were all on the same mission and were like a well-oiled machine. I enjoyed that and I created friendships that will last my entire life.

press conference on courthouse steps
Classie Dudley, president of the Duluth chapter of the NAACP, speaks during a press conference at the St. Louis County Courthouse on Thursday, April 6, 2023, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Who has inspired you?
My dad (Harrison Dudley) has gone through a lot — he has lived through the Jim Crow era. He is relentless and dedicated and believes in me. He believes in young leadership and he is fearless. A lot of those qualities that I have I got from him. He is definitely one of my inspirations.

From the nominator:
“From having the honor to have worked alongside Classie, I cannot imagine anyone who puts more of themselves into their work for this community. Classie’s mission is deeply personal. She sees real people facing systemic injustice. Whether it be racism, poverty or misogyny, she knows that these issues cannot be sidelined as they have been for centuries in the Northland. Classie respects the real life-and-death implications that oppression has on this community and doesn’t let those with power get away with not recognizing this impact front and center. She is never afraid to say what needs to be said, especially when it might be an unpopular opinion. Classie has and will continue to inspire me for years to come. Classie, this community sees the work that you do every day, loves you and cannot wait to see what is next.”

― Jamey Sharp

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