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Toronto District School Board

Letter of Support of the Establishment of the Somali Centre for Culture and Recreation

Categories: Advocacy

** Please note, this letter of support was also shared with Zakaria Abdulle (Chair), and Fuad Abdi of the Somali Centre for Culture & Recreation **

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities
The Honourable Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure

Dear Ministers Fraser and Surma,

As Chair of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), I am writing to you on behalf of the Board of Trustees in support of the establishment of the Somali Centre for Culture and Recreation, an initiative that aims to serve as a significant resource for the development and enrichment of Somali communities in the City of Toronto. 

The recognition and celebration of Somali Heritage Week under the Somali Heritage Week Act, 2020, is a testament to the valuable contributions and achievements of Somali Canadians in various spheres within the Province of Ontario. This week not only commemorates historical milestones but also acknowledges the economic, political, social, and cultural impact of the Somali community in Toronto and Ontario.  

As an extension of our commitment to fostering cultural awareness and celebrating diversity, the TDSB has been dedicated to educating our students, parents/guardians/ caregivers, and staff about the rich heritage, history, and diverse contributions of the Somali community to our society.  

The recent joint report by the Somali Centre for Culture and Recreation in partnership with the University of Toronto’s Infrastructure Institute highlighted the notable gaps in public investments for Black communities, particularly affecting the Somali community.  

The TDSB is deeply involved in community development, initiatives to enhance the quality of education, supporting recreational programs, and tackling equity issues such as anti-Black racism and Islamophobia across the city. Our dedication is reflected in the Director of Education's support for the Somali Centre for Culture and Recreation in August 2023. 

We support the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, as well as numerous elected officials in their call and support for the establishment of the Somali Centre for Culture and Recreation. 

The potential of such a centre as a hub for learning enrichment services, cultural preservation, and community engagement aligns with our values and objectives at the TDSB.  

I look forward to the realization of the Somali Centre for Culture and Recreation and remain committed to contributing to its success through collaboration, support, and advocacy. 



Rachel Chernos Lin 
Chair, Toronto District School Board 


Response received from the Ministry of Infrastructure explaining that at this time, the ministry does not have funding available to support this project.