Samuel M. Gebru is an Ethiopian American social entrepreneur, community organizer and consultant. He is a candidate for Cambridge City Council in the November 7, 2017 election.
A proud resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Samuel has demonstrated broad passion for and leadership in community organizing, policy work and advocacy on a range of issues. While at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS), he launched Youth View Cambridge, the student-run television news magazine, and co-led the successful multicultural student campaign to recognize a Muslim holiday on the Cambridge Public Schools District’s official calendar. He has worked on municipal and state election campaigns and served as a legislative intern to Massachusetts State Senator Steven A. Tolman.
Samuel serves as founder and managing director of Black Lion Strategies, a consulting practice that works to strengthen U.S.-Ethiopia relations, and as executive producer of Boston Ethiopia Week, a new annual celebration of Ethiopia and Ethiopian Americans in the Boston area. He is frequently invited for local and international media appearances and speaking engagements on issues including the African immigrant community in Massachusetts, Ethiopian affairs and U.S.-Ethiopia policy.
Samuel founded and led the Ethiopian Global Initiative from 2006-2016. Based in the U.S., the nonprofit convened change makers in Ethiopia and abroad. The Initiative’s mission was to serve as a catalyst and connector, working to create an environment where passionate and innovative young leaders could discuss and seek solutions to Ethiopia’s most pressing challenges.
Samuel serves on the Board of Directors of the Cambridge Community Center, a multi-service organization and frontline resource for children, youth and families. Committed to supporting youth leadership, he launched the annual Samuel M. Gebru Leadership Award at CRLS, recognizing a graduating senior for broad experience in and passion for public service. He was previously board secretary of the CRLS Alumni Association and a board member of Africans in Boston, where he advocated on behalf of African immigrants in Massachusetts. Samuel served on the Artist Selection Committee for Cambridge’s Prince Hall Memorial, honoring Prince Hall, the noted African American scholar, abolitionist and founder of Black Freemasonry.
Samuel was previously appointed to serve as the first youth on the Executive Committee of the Cambridge Family Policy Council, an intergovernmental and multi-sector city board chaired by the Mayor that recommends policies on children, youth and families to the City Council. He helped develop the Council’s strategic plan, served on its Youth Involvement Subcommittee and participated in three delegations representing the city at conferences of the National League of Cities. He was part of the Youth Involvement Subcommittee’s widely endorsed campaign to lower the voting age in Cambridge’s municipal elections to 17. Although the effort failed in the Massachusetts Legislature, Samuel remains a consistent advocate for youth leadership and civic participation.
Samuel was born in Sudan to two Ethiopian parents and raised in Cambridge since moving with his mother in 1995 at age three. He is Ethiopian Orthodox Christian and multilingual. In his spare time, Samuel enjoys reading and writing, traveling and exploring new cuisines.