Equity & Human Rights

The Office of Equity and Human Rights works to create a more inclusive Dubuque community by assuring everyone has equitable access to government and community services. Our work supports City staff, elected officials, community organizations, and members of the public in advancing polices and solutions to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, disparities experienced by our most marginalized residents, allowing them to prosper.

What We Do

Traditionally, the Office of Equity & Human Rights has focused solely on reactive enforcement of civil rights laws. We recognize the importance of enforcement, and we encourage the public to report concerns about anything that may be a civil rights violation or that causes concerns in terms of how people are being treated in the community.

However, our work has expanded to include proactive approaches to eliminating discrimination by: 

  • Making inequities visible using data and storytelling 
  • Engaging community voices to inform the design of City policy and systems change
  • Building our city’s capacity to advance equity through trainings, tools, and technical assistance 

We also strive to identify needs and either connect people and groups to resources or mediate improvements in service delivery by City department and/or community institutions. Our strategic work with partners is vital in creating more sustainable solutions to civil and human rights issues.

How You Can Be Involved

Each of us has a role to play in developing and working toward these solutions, and we invite you to contribute to these efforts through both learning and actions. Here are some ways you can get involved through our department:

We encourage the public to contact our office. Ask us questions. Let us know your concerns. Share your ideas. Get involved. It will take all of us working together in order for our community to continually become safe, more civil, and more inclusive as we face growth and change.

Important Terms

Equity is a condition which deliberately creates choices, access, and opportunities for ALL PEOPLE to fulfill their basic needs, advance their well-being, and achieve their full potential regardless of their background and identity.  


Contact Us

  1. Gisella Aitken-Shadle-August 2022 (1)Gisella Aitken-Shadle  |  email
    Chief of Equity & Human Rights
    Phone: 563-589.4190   
    TDD/TTY: 563-589-4193
    Fax: 563.690.6691


    Staff Directory

    Ruby Sutton Building
    1157 Central Ave., Dubuque, IA 52001

    Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.