My commitment to diversity, anti-racism, and social action

My Statement of Commitment to Diversity and Equity

Life-long advocacy. Daily self-examination. Lasting change.

I committed myself to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-oppression based social action even before I began my academic career. My Ph.D. specialization was in women’s development, intersectional theories and realities, and anti-oppression practices. At UBC, I taught the Psychology of Gender for 19 years — annually updating the course content based on the rapidly changing scientific evidence and theories. I was then hired to teach diversity courses to law enforcement studies students at the JIBC.

Including and following wisdoms of Minoritized peoples. Ending oppressions. Lifting up hope to combat despair. Digging deep into diversity.

I continue to advocate and hold workshops for minorities and/or vulnerable groups. I designed and am director of Life Outside the Box, a program initially designed to give support to youth who were at-risk for joining gang life. Based on the success of this program, I expanded to include supporting: transgendered youth; middle school children experiencing despair about climate change catastrophes; high school youths working to end bullying; community groups wishing to explore their personal bias, dive deeply into diversity issues, and find ways to make lasting change, etc.

Digging deep into unlearning settler bias and lifting up Indigenous ways of knowing and living

Bearing witness to Indigenous stories through visual translation of sworn testimonies. I have led hundreds of participants through Truth and Reconciliation lessons/workshops for post-secondary learners, as well as for participants at provincial, national, and international conferences. I believe that it is the duty of people of Settler heritage to bear witness to (read and reflect on) the sworn testimonies and truths of Indigenous peoples. Visually translating the Truth and Reconciliation report and the Reclaiming Power and Place: Murdered And Missing Indigenous Women and Girls report allows participants to come in contact with these testimonies, take time to reflect on these stories, and change their hearts and minds. Wherever I work, I hope to continue regularly offering these important, heartbreaking, and hope-making witnessing workshops and lessons.


Dr. Jessica Motherwell McFarlane is a professional education consultant on gender, anti-oppression and social justice issues and a research associate at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. She is also the developer and director of the Life Outside the Box program that uses visual narratives as a way to SEE conflict and injustice from new perspectives. Jessica facilitates groups and schools needing to have complex — and sometimes emotionally painful — conversations. She offers workshops to at-risk children, youth, and adults on: Truth and Reconciliation, transforming bullying situations, and rehearsing best practices for self-care, inclusivity, and kindness.