Inclusive Dubuque Launches “I’m a Dubuquer Campaign”

For as long as anyone can remember, people from Dubuque have called themselves “Dubuquers.” The term is deeply embedded in the community and its language. From time to time, it has also been used to draw a line between insiders and outsiders.

Over the past two years, as the Inclusive Dubuque Network gathered information about the community through a Community Equity Profile and various community conversations, one theme repeatedly rose to the top: for someone who is new to the community, Dubuque is a closed network that is hard to break into if you weren’t born here—and that can make it difficult for newcomers to access opportunities.

With this in mind, Wartburg Theological Seminary professor and Inclusive Dubuque Network member Sam Giere pitched the idea for a campaign to help redefine what “Dubuquer” means. After living in Dubuque for over a decade, Giere had noticed that the word had deep roots in the community. As the city changes and grows, he suggested it was time to expand what it means to be a Dubuquer. Instead of using this word to draw a line between who’s in and who’s out, why not use it to expand the circle and welcome all who call Dubuque home?

The campaign fit with Inclusive Dubuque’s mission to create an informed, equitable and inclusive community where all people feel respected, valued and engaged. With the support of the Telegraph Herald, the network launched the campaign in July. By combining simple, black-and-white portraits of community members from all walks of life, age groups, occupations, and backgrounds with the words “I’m a Dubuquer,” the campaign invites conversation about the community and aims to broaden the collective understanding of who our neighbors and fellow Dubuquers really are.

Nearly 50 photos and stories are housed on the “I’m a Dubuquer” website. Visit to read, listen and learn more about a diverse group of people who choose to call Dubuque home, and to find out where you can see the campaign out in the community in the coming months.

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This story was featured in Giving Matters Summer 2017

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Jeff Danna
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About Us
Founded in 2002, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque strengthens communities and inspires giving. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life throughout Northeast Iowa by serving donors, making grants to local nonprofit organizations, and providing community leadership through convening and collaboration. Guided by the values of integrity, equity and inclusion, collaboration, excellence and innovation, we seek to ensure a vibrant and inclusive Greater Dubuque region with resources and opportunity for all.