Samuel Gebru

Samuel Gebru
2017 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
812 Memorial Dr. #614A
Cambridge, MA 02139

Contact information:
Tel: 617-500-7456
Twitter: @GebruForCambMA

Send contributions to:
Committee To Elect Samuel Gebru
P.O. Box 392011
Cambridge, MA 02139
Donate online at:

"I am running for City Council to make sure that no one gets left behind as we plan for our shared future. I believe in a periodic generational change in leadership – new eyes looking at the same problems. As your City Councillor, I will embrace innovation and work to develop creative approaches to solving our city's most pressing challenges." – Samuel M. Gebru


Housing is a universal human right. Despite our city's relative prosperity, 13% of all Cambridge families with children live in poverty. One third of households headed by single mothers live in poverty. Our housing market increasingly forces many out of Cambridge. For families, it upsets the education and upbringing of their children. In 2015, only 4% of the available rental housing with two or more bedrooms was affordable to a family making $75,000 per year.

As your next City Councillor, I will work on:

Housing for All
Cambridge's recently-passed inclusionary housing requirement of 20% for all new housing developments of 10-or-more units must be enforced. I support the construction of more higher-density and transit-oriented housing and will work with the city's partners to develop more housing on city-owned and vacant land. Areas of specific focus for me include Alewife as well as Central, Kendall, and Porter Squares. I will fight to preserve and expand housing opportunities for residents of all incomes, especially low and middle-income/workforce. In addition to creating more rental units, we must create more homeownership units, building pathways to wealth and equity for Cambridge residents.

Expanding the "Housing First" Approach
I support greater investments in Cambridge's "Housing First" program so that we can provide more housing for our most vulnerable residents, including the homeless, disabled, seniors, and veterans. Permanent supportive housing is celebrated as a national best practice and I will work with local and regional partners to ensure that our city's Department of Human Service Programs remains a model for excellence.

Our city is known for being an intellectual hub and home to Kendall Square, the most innovative square mile in the world. Despite our technological, educational, and commercial successes, income inequality remains one of our main challenges. The successes of our universities and industries must impact the average citizen.

As your next City Councillor, I will work on:

Bridging the Digital Divide
30% of Cambridge Housing Authority residents do not have access to the Internet. For too long, our city has not been serious about expanding high-speed municipal broadband, especially to underserved neighborhoods. I will work to leverage public-private partnerships to expand broadband networks throughout our city.

Computer Science for All
I will work to create an integrated Computer Science for All program, ensuring that today's children are prepared for tomorrow's economy. Every child in Cambridge deserves to be equipped with 21st Century Skills – the tools to make it inn our innovation economy. Our economic competitiveness is partly based on workforce development, and our residents should benefit more from the private sector growth in our city.

Small Business Resource Center
Small businesses remain the backbone of our nation's economy. I will work to create the Small Business Resource Center, a one-stop shop, to ensure that Cambridge is a city where small businesses can start, thrive, and sustain. Whether it's the next technology startup or the third-generation neighborhood mom-and-pop shop, all entrepreneurs need information, capacity, funding, and open access to city services.

Our politics must be inclusive. Those at the decision-making table should share our aspirations and vision for a Cambridge that leaves no one behind. I am committed to constituent services and serving as a strategic thinking partner to the City Manager.

As your next City Councillor, I will work on:

Protecting and Expanding Immigrant Rights
Roughly one third of Cambridge residents like me were not born in the United States. Given the current national unrest, state and local governments must do more to protect the rights of all immigrants. I am committed to maintaining Cambridge's status as a Sanctuary City against all threats and supporting the community-led initiative to expand voting rights to non-citizen residents in local elections.

Improving Government Accessibility
I will make the part-time role of City Councillor my full-time job. The challenges of our city require committed leadership and constant attention to detail. I will explore ways to increase government transparency, accessibility, and accountability through greater investments in open data and new methods of communicating with all residents.

Fostering Civic Engagement
Residents should have more opportunities to determine how they are governed. I am a coalition builder and will foster stronger partnerships with our city's nonprofits, businesses, universities, and other key stakeholders. I will explore ways to replicate innovative approaches to public engagement such as Participatory Budgeting in other areas of city government. I will push the City Council to convene meetings outside of City Hall in our neighborhood youth centers and other community spaces. I will also revive the initiative to expand voting rights to 17-year-olds in local elections to increase voter engagement among our next generation.

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, the current president of Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

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.

Sam Gebru is a new candidate this year.

June 29, 2017 - "I am running for City Council to make sure that no one gets left behind as we plan for our shared future. We deserve a working City Council that will always put its best efforts forward, moving beyond conversations to help realize our collective aspirations. The tenets of my plan are: Inclusive Housing, Inclusive Economy, and Inclusive Politics. As your City Councillor, I will embrace innovation and work to develop creative approaches to solving our city's most pressing challenges. If elected, I would make serving on City Council my full-time job.

Together, we can build an inclusive Cambridge!


Read more about my plans for our city at:

Page last updated Tuesday, August 22, 2017 10:21 AM Cambridge Candidates