Iman Mohamed is as good a plate spinner as they come. As the Muslim Legal Support Centre (MLSC) director, Iman has spent many years working in the social justice realm, leading teams toward sustainable and equitable outcomes. The MLSC is an Ontario-based nonprofit organization that provides legal programming and assistance to Muslim Canadians and migrants.
“I have always had a strong passion for social justice and making a positive impact on my community. I wanted to use my skills and experience to help those in need and make a difference in people's lives. This desire led me to explore different avenues where I could achieve this goal and ultimately led me to the nonprofit field.” She went on to say.
By the time she joined the MLSC in 2022, Iman was already one of York University's Top 30 under 30 Changemakers. But her social justice work began much earlier.
In 2016, Iman helped co-found the Somali Community Development Centre (SCDC). The centre aims to promote education by providing encouragement and resources to students, parents, and families within the Somali community. By providing the community with academic, social, financial and one-on-one support, the SCDC was an experience in leadership in the nonprofit field. She attributes her success in the nonprofit industry to her experiences and identity.
“As a Black woman, I bring a unique perspective and understanding to my work that has been invaluable in helping me connect with and serve diverse communities. My experiences and identity have also helped me develop empathy, resilience, and a deep commitment to social justice.”
On Zoom calls with Iman, you can see multiple parts of her world, from the care she puts into her work and also into her adorable little girl. It is not that she is just a mother and worker, but she also embraces selfhood which gives her the energy to continue the good fight.
“It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but I try to be fully present in each moment, whether at work, spending time with my family, or taking time for myself. By prioritizing the things that are most important to me and finding time for things that bring me joy and fulfillment, I can find balance and maintain my motivation and drive. And, of course, taking care of myself is key—whether that's by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, or indulging in a good book, I make sure to carve out time for myself so that I can show up fully for both my work and my loved ones.”
A role model not just for her daughter but other Black and Somali girls. Even at this young age, she is focused on the youth and providing the power and perspective passed down to her by the older generation of strong Black women. “As a woman who has faced her challenges and obstacles, I believe that one of the most important lessons for girls to learn is the power of self-confidence and self-worth. It's not always easy to believe in yourself, especially when you face systemic barriers or messages telling you you are not good enough. But I know from my own experiences that believing in yourself can make all the difference in the world,” she explains. “I want young girls to know they can achieve anything they want, regardless of race, gender, or background. I want them to know their dreams matter, and they have a unique perspective and voice that can make a difference in the world.”
So what is Iman up to now? On top of running the MLSC, she finds time between watching Paw Patrol with her daughter to co-founding the Muslim Freedom Fund, a charity organization that collects donations to help support fellow Muslims in precarious spaces in the Toronto area. The group helps many individuals facing homelessness, poverty and hunger— just another day for one of our country's brightest changemakers.
This story is part of our “Women’s Month" series, where we celebrate the remarkable journeys and accomplishments of Black Women In Canada.