Nicola Simpson was born in May Pen, a small Jamaican town. Nicola’s father, a self-taught civil contractor, often took jobs for people who could not, or would not pay. Her mother – who had the wit, intelligence, and perseverance of a scholar – worked tirelessly to run a small family grocer, to ensure her children were afforded the kind of life she had only dreamt of.
Her Life In Jamaica
Unlike her sisters, who were blessed with the most enviable charm and grace, Nicola grew into a rugged, outdoorsy tomboy, seeking out games of football or cricket with her brothers. She paid little attention to boys, an anomaly that did not go unnoticed. As rumors swirled about Nicola’s sexual orientation, what followed was over a decade of denials and hiding but the specter of her true identity followed her closely.
Desperate Attempts To Escape Homophobia
She escaped to Canada in the Winter of 2010 with little more than the clothes on her back. Thinking her worse days were behind her, Nicola quickly learned she had leaped out of the proverbial frying pan, into the fire as her ‘husband’ quickly grew tired of her marital reluctance. When she tried to escape, he had her arrested, charged and ultimately tossed out on the street.
Possessing the wit and resilience of her mother, Nicola navigated the very lowest paths of Canadian society, finding strength and support in places she least expected. With the pro-bono help of social workers and lawyers, Nicola overcame the egregious and derogatory allegations of her husband and won the privilege to pursue life as a Canadian in her own right.
Nicola continues to defy the odds, from her humble beginning as a refugee to pursuing a diploma at the Humber College, an undergrad at Ontario Tech University, a masters degree at Toronto Metropolitan University and a place in one of Canada’s most prestigious law schools, the University of Ottawa, Common Law Section.
Her Audacity To Dream
Unable to secure a student line of credit, Nicole started her law school journey with $200 in her pocket and as fate would have it, she fell victim to homelessness for the second time. Despite the many days when she could not afford food, books, shelter and other basic necessities, Nicola earned her Juris Doctor in May 2021 – completing her final year at Osgoode Hall Law School. She successfully wrote the Ontario Bar exams, secured a placement at the Barbra Schilfer Commemorative Clinic, called to the Ontario Bar in June 2022 and currently pursuing her LL.M in Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri. Nicola is also the Founder and Managing Director of the Roxy and Lascelles Simpson Foundation, a not-for-profit in honor of her deceased parents, dedicated to community building.
Nicola’s experiences owing to her sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, and socio-economic background have informed her unique perspectives,