Boston 2011 Fellows

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Andrew Slack, Executive Director, The Harry Potter Alliance

Andrew SlackAndrew Slack is creator, cofounder, and Executive Director for the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA), a nonprofit that uses parallels from the Harry Potter books to mobilize over 100,000 Harry Potter fans to act as heroes in our world. After sending 5 cargo planes for Haiti, donating 55,000 books across the world, winning $250,000 through the Chase Bank Community Giving Challenge on Facebook, being praised by both Paul Farmer and JK Rowling, and featured by the NYT, CNN, NPR, etc, Andrew is now creating the "Imagine Better Coalition" which will harness the energy of all popular culture toward social change. Andrew has written for the LA Times, In These Times, the Huffington Post, and produced/co-starred/co-written three videos that have been seen over 10 million times on YouTube. Andrew spent years as a full time sketch comedian traveling across the US to hundreds of venues. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University in 2002, Andrew has been a youth worker in the US and Northern Ireland, studied at an acting conservatory in London, and done in person interviews with Civil Rights workers across the East Coast as he is dedicated to an arts and social media based movement for social change.

Ian Simmons, President, Foundation for Civic Leadership

Ian Thorne SimmonsIan Thorne Simmons is initiates projects that seek to enhance democracy and is a real estate investor. He serves as president of Foundation for Civic Leadership, and is co-founder of the upcoming projects Democracy House and Student Engagement Report Card. Ian was the silent partner in co-founding and seed-funding ActBlue, which makes it easier for citizens to create change. Since 2004, ActBlue has channeled over 1 million individual donations totaling over $174 million to candidates across the United States. Results of other advocacy initiatives Ian has conceived and catalyzed have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The International Herald Tribune, as well as on CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN. Ian graduated with honors from Harvard College in 2000. His senior thesis focused on the relationship between higher education and democracy. Originally from Massachusetts and Illinois, Ian has made site visits to exemplary businesses and non-profit initiatives in India, Pakistan, Russia, Mexico, Japan, China, the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, the United States, Canada, and Brazil. Ian has volunteered for US political campaigns since the age of 8, and enjoys hiking, skiing and triathlons.

Robbie Samuels, Co-Founder & Co-Organizer Socializing for Justice (

Robbie SamuelsRobbie Samuels has extensive community organizing, event logistics and fundraising experience. He is currently the Special Events Manager at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), an adjunct professor at Lesley College teaching “Activism and Change in Communities,” and works with the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS-Boston). In 2006, he co-founded Socializing for Justice (SoJust), a grassroots, volunteer-run member-supported group, to build a cross-issue progressive community, network and movement in Boston based on the philosophy of abundance. Since then, as SoJust's co-organizer, Robbie has been the visionary behind their success - growing the group to almost 1600 members, hosting over 85 events and creating a hub of progressive events and resources at In 2010, he won ServiceNation's Boston Service Hero Contest. In 2009, he was the recipient of the inaugural Lavender Rhino Award presented by the LGBT History Project, and the Gender Hero award presented by The Theater Offensive. He received his MSW and a BA in Sociology and Political Science from SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island, where he was raised. Robbie identifies as a white, queer, feminist, trans man and lives with his partner, Alison Brill, cat Lucy and goldfish Brilliance, in Jamaica Plain, MA. He likes burritos.

Austin Evers, Law clerk, U.S. District Court

Austin EversAustin currently serves as a law clerk to a federal District Court judge in Boston. This is Austin's second judicial clerkship. He spent his first on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Between his two clerkships, Austin worked on the United States Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, where he focused on crimes against women, both at home and internationally. Before entering the law, Austin worked in politics in New York. Austin studied International Relations at Johns Hopkins University. He first came to the area in 2006 to attend Boston College Law School, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2009. While in law school, Austin served on the executive board of the Law Review, co-chaired the Diversity Committee, and wrote for the unofficial student paper. Austin is active in the American Constitution Society. He serves as Membership and Outreach Chair of the local Steering Committee and is a national Next Generation Leader. Aside from the law, Austin's interests lie in food and small businesses, passions he takes from his family's wine and olive oil business in Sonoma County, California.