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.
Samuel began his career in public service as a 13-year-old committed to maternal health issues in his native Ethiopia. He raised funds for women suffering from obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth injury common in developing countries. His efforts led to 11 women undergoing fistula repair surgeries at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
While at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS), Samuel launched Youth View Cambridge, the student-run television news magazine. His student leadership included spearheading 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.
In late 2016, driven by his commitment to ensuring that all of Cambridge's students become productive members of society, Samuel was a member of the transition team for newly hired Superintendent of Schools Kenneth A. Salim, where he served as a voice for recent CRLS alumni. In January 2017, Samuel founded the Black Caucus of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts, the state chapter of the Young Democrats of America, to ensure that Black millennials have an opportunity to meaningfully participate in the Democratic Party.
Samuel was born in Sudan to 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.