Dubuque group launches 'I'm a Dubuquer' campaign

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Making Dubuque a more inclusive city might not just help the people living there, but also its economy. The Inclusive Dubuque Network made a new video they're sharing on social media that aims to change a way of thinking.

They're targeting two different audiences. For people who are new to the community, it's a way of saying 'you belong here.' Directors say it’s also designed to give pause to lifelong Dubuquers about how they treat the non-natives.

They're the questions many tend to ask when meeting someone new. Did you grow up here? Are you related to 'so and so'?

But people, Like Samuel Giere, who is not a lifelong Dubuquer, says those questions are kind of rude.

"’Dubuquer’ has been a term that has been used to define who's in and who's out," said Giere.

Giere connected with the Dubuque Community Foundation to create the video that shows many different Dubuquers holding a sign displaying their designation as a Dubuquer. It features people who've lived in Dubuque their whole lives as well as newcomers of different races, faiths and sexual identities.

"Regardless of how long you've lived in Dubuque. Whether it's a week maybe it's four generational ties here, you are a Dubuquer," said Dr. Katrina Farren-Eller, director of Inclusive Dubuque.

Farren-Eller says that "Dubuquer" mentality is having an impact on job retention in Dubuque. She says some employers tend to favor local job candidates who tend to know people in the community.

"When you have new people coming into town, even if they are highly skilled, highly qualified, it becomes difficult for them to find a job, because they don't know the right people," said Farren-Eller.

She says that's the reason some newcomers simply decided to leave Dubuque.

"Global companies like IBM, there employees were not necessarily feeling welcome out in the community," said Giere.

Giere says he's staying put in Dubuque and hoping to make some positive change in the process.

"My hope is that we continue to grow the pool of Dubuquers," said Giere.