Building Connections TOGETHER.
Our Community Equity Profile
At surface level, Art Roche and Temwa Phiri might seem completely different. Raised in Detroit, Art moved to Dubuque in 1966 to attend Divine Word College. Like Art, Temwa grew up in Michigan, but only after his family emigrated from the African nation of Zambia. Temwa, too, relocated for his education, enrolling at the University of Dubuque in 2007.
Although they represent different generations and cultural backgrounds, Art and Temwa share a particular passion: Building a Dubuque where all people are welcome, included and have equitable opportunities.
“When I came here, I fell in love with this community,” Temwa says. “There are a lot of passionate people who want to make Dubuque that ‘Masterpiece on the Mississippi’ by doing their part to build relationships and connectivity.”
Art and Temwa have been active participants in the Community Foundation’s Inclusive Dubuque Network since its inception in 2012, and through that involvement, they have played pivotal roles in creating Dubuque’s Community Equity Profile.
First published in 2015, the Equity Profile draws on public data, conversations with residents, and survey results to provide snapshots of how different populations are shaped by systems like education, housing and health care. Art and Temwa have served as conversation facilitators, helping glean valuable understandings from residents of myriad racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
“The Equity Profile process revealed important insights about our community,” Art says. “For example, we learned that 40% of adults in Dubuque’s Marshallese community have diabetes. That’s inequity; that’s disparity. This process is directing community leaders and organizations to those underlying issues, so we can address them in a systemic way.”
That insight about diabetes, Art and Temwa explain, led to numerous community-wide wellness initiatives, from healthy cooking classes at Convivium Urban Farmstead to coordinated health care programs for Marshallese residents at Crescent Community Health Center.
This year, the Foundation is publishing the second edition of the Equity Profile, which provides an updated picture of Dubuque’s diverse population and the experiences of its residents. Once again, Art facilitated conversations, while Temwa shared his input at multiple events. Both see Dubuque becoming a place where all people can thrive.
“We’re heading in a direction where we have closer connections with each other,” Temwa says. “There are many innovative initiatives in the community that are bridging resource gaps. We are a community that is not just supporting individuals where they are today — we are helping them go further.”