Category: Issues

Cast Recording, 'The Book Of Mormon' musical

By , May 10, 2011 1:43 pm


I haven’t had time to listen to the entire thing, but from the first couple of songs, this promises to be the most hilarious thing since The Walter Hayes band wrote the “Mormon Rap.”

**Reader Advisory: Language on this recording may not be appropriate for all listeners.

For the more delicate listener, who still has a sense of humor about Mormonism, I highly recommend the individual songs, “Hello,” “Two by Two” & “I Believe.”

Impostor syndrome

By , May 9, 2011 10:57 am

I am in a funny phase of life where I am discovering thoughts/theories/beliefs that I have had for a long time are actually well-recognized phenomena or studies or disciplines. Along the lines of, “whoa, I always thought that but, I didn’t know it had a name and that other people have discovered it too.”

I found a post on a friend’s website a while back called, “How to Steal Like an Artist.” Today I looked at it again following some conversations with people who are the absolute most creative people I know not thinking that they are all that creative at all, or worrying that their ideas have already been done by others. I re-read it and followed a few links from it. (it is, after all, finals week. the most prime time for random distractions).

I discovered something I may have. It is called Impostor Syndrome, and I am sure many people who have never heard of it suffer from it. It is a phenomena where “proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”

“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision” -Bertrand Russell

Wikipedia says that Impostor Syndrome was originally hypothesized to be found more in women, but that men have it in equal numbers. From my anecdotal experience I cannot concur, as I have found men to suffer far more from, the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

I’m not sure how Impostor Syndrome overlaps with what a therapist of mine, I believe, once called anti-entitlement. Anti-entitlement is sortof the extreme tendency to not want to inconvenience others combined with a compulsion to not stand up for yourself because you don’t want to make waves.

That’s the funny thing about me.

I think that most people would describe me as “confident,” or “bossy” or “assertive.” And, I don’t see it that way at all. I really hate telling other people what to do… especially if I think they see it another way. This is likely part Mormon-passive aggressive/anti-confrontationalist and part being a woman. Because, after all, if you do stick up for yourself as a woman, you are often labeled with negative words like “bossy” or “pushy” or worse. In fact, I can’t think of a single incident in my life where a man was described as “bossy.”

Can you?

Are they just assumed to be the boss? So if they are being “bossy” it’s just the way they are expected to act?

In some ways I think that this anti-entitlement tilt I’ve got going on is an asset.  I can recognize that other people are just as capable as I am. I don’t feel I deserve things that other people don’t. After living in NW DC with a very large crowd of the richest, whitest most entitled feeling (and absolutely the most unpleasant) group of people on earth, I certainly don’t want to be like them and assume I deserve more than others or that my time is more valuable than that of EVERYONE else.

But, I also tend to belittle my own accomplishments. For example, I kept calling the film I am making my “little film” and a professor of mine said, “stop calling it little. This is an amazing feat for a law student.”

Another example is that I didn’t attend my graduation from Undergrad. The main reason was that I just felt like I stuck around for a bunch of years. I didn’t feel I had actually accomplished anything.

Ok. I am making a promise to you internet dearest:

I will attend my law school graduation ceremony.*

*except in the unlikely event that Dick Cheney is asked to be the Commencement Speaker.

Briana Blackwelder: A sister, a daughter, a friend, a midwife

By , April 27, 2011 5:27 am

My dear friend Briana passed away on Saturday.

I feel privileged to have known Briana, and been able to record some of her powerful words about herself and her calling as a direct entry midwife. Neil and I made this film to honor the power of her words and wisdom.

Briana’s Words, Briana’s Wisdom from Kate and Neil on Vimeo.

I met Briana through another close friend while we were all mucking through undergrad at BYU. She was such an intriguing presence to me. While my friend Amy and I were prone to silliness, loud laughter and ostentatious hi-jinks in those our early 20s, Briana brought a somber and present maturity to our conversations. While we might have attempted to laugh through our sorrows, Briana processed everything in an amazing way and in such depth that I was drawn to her.

We called her Breezer.

When Amy went on to marry in 2005, Briana and I turned to each other more and more to lean on. As our friendship began to deepen, I of course, learned more and more about her passion: midwifery and birthing at home.

There are few people who devote the entirety of their lives to one cause in the natural and easy way that Briana did.   That devotion and what she accomplished in helping fight for women’s right and ability to birth at home are remarkable. When she talked of midwifery, she spoke of power, politics, love, empowerment and referred to her role as a midwife as a calling.

Briana had an amazing intuition for helping women.

I introduced her to my sister in law Laura. After meeting Breezer she decided to choose a home birth, even though (or perhaps due to the fact) she herself is a PA, and has worked in labor and delivery at a hospital. As a result of this joyous union, June Ransom was born at home, on our orange couch with Breezer there to catch her.

I trusted her with my family.

So many trusted her with the very beginning of their families.

When I connected her to my friend Ashley this past summer, she became Ashley’s midwife and I began to document them both for a film project for my Feminist Jurisprudence class. These past few months, we have visited, talked endlessly on the phone and really been able to connect as intellectual Mormon women.


I know that you wanted to start studying graphic design, and move to San Franscico or DC or Texas. I know that you wanted to find a man to love, and be witness to the birth of your own babies.

We talked endlessly into the night of summer trips to Costa Rica, and our future street where we would be neighbors and friends forever into adulthood.

I am so, so sad that you are gone.

I want to see your art, be your neighbor, and have you catch my babies.

I want to talk to you just one more time to tell you what an irreplaceable friend you are.

Namaste. I bow to you,


Many thanks for those who contributed to the film:

Sonya Cotton for her song Hilltop Hymn.
Missy Lambert for her poem. Please read Missy’s beautiful poem about Breezer.
Alisha Stamper for her photographs.
Carolee Beckham for her photographs.

A memorial service for Briana will be held Wednesday in Salt Lake. The service is scheduled for 7 p.m. at 951 E. 100 South, our old chapel.


By , April 15, 2011 7:16 am

So, yeah, not to boast, but the Hip Hop Conference was pretty awesome.

I got to meet Rosa Clemente (a-mazing), Skim (a-mazing).

Kate Kelly, Rosa Clemente, Skim

On the tees & behind the panelists is the amazing Lady Justice that Neil conjured up for the Conference. Can we all just admit that Neil is a genius? She is inspired by my prof Pamela Bridgewater.

Law(lessness), (In)Justice and Legacy of Hip Hop Music and Culture

This panel, Law(lessness), (In)Justice and Legacy of Hip Hop Music and Culture, was amazing. By far the best law school panel I’ve ever attended. R-L Moderator: Dekeera Greene, WCL grad. Panelists: Rosa Clemente, Hip Hop Activist, Former Candidate for Vice President (Green Party ‘08); Leila Steinberg, activist; artist; organizer; founder Alternative Intervention Models; former manager of Tupac Shakur and founder of The Microphone Series, an artist development workshop; Mora Namdar, 3L WCL, activist and organizer on issues and youth movements related to political and human rights in Iran, founder and Editor- in-Chief of AU National Security Law Brief.

These amazing women hit the issues from police brutality to racism to COINTELPRO. It was amazing to listen to them, and for the panel not to be specifically “women’s issues,” but as experts and intellectuals on a grand scale.

Another highlight for me was this performance by Gabriel Teodros. In a brilliant rhyme he called out “pseudo liberals afraid of the real conversation,” ahem, 1/2 of my school.

I also got to meet Head-Roc a local DC hip hop activist. He is an artists who has been very involved in the D.C. Statehood movement. Go New Columbia!

“On to the Next” Roundtable: Hip Hop, Law and Grassroots Activism/Organizing

I really want to recommend the film Beyond Beats and Rhymes to you, internet. We watched it during the lunch break at the Conference. It’s about misogyny and homophobia in Hip Hop music. It is really amazing. I highly recommend it, but it’s not suitable not for little ones… as the music videos they highlight are pretty horrific (hence, the point).

That’s right. We hit ALL the issues.

My vicarious street-cred has increased exponentially by just attending this conference, but if you are interested in knowing how my closing remarks went, you can pretty much just watch this video:

Hip Hop Law

By , April 10, 2011 8:08 pm

That’s right folks. One of the myriad of crazy projects I am working on currently is this conference on Hip Hop, Law and Social Justice Organizing.

One of our presenters was Tupac’s original manager.

Another presenter is Rosa Clemente who was the Green Party VP candidate in 2008 with Cynthia McKinney.

This is going to be, as the kids say these days, “off the hook.”

The rest of the planning committee attempted to get me to moderate one of the panels, and I refused.  I am far, far TOO SQUARE to have any credibility with these folks on the subject of Hip Hop. (I have readily admitted to them that I am more a consumer of Joni Mitchell than N.W.A.).

But, the event is going to be awesome. And, I did get talked into giving the closing remarks. The only thing that makes me feel better about that is that the opening remarks are by this gentleman, who is white, Mormon and went to BYU for undergrad, but also started this blog. He is a serious contender for most random/interesting Mormon in the universe (I am pretty sure I know personally most people who fall into this category, so I was surprised to see one out teaching law in West Virginia of all places).

If you’ve got any extra street-cred laying around, please send it to me by Wed.

Thanks in advance.

Agitating Faithfully

By , February 24, 2011 11:19 am

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a Mormon missionary?

This episode of This American Life is so, SO dead-on. The second-to-last segment is about two missionaries in the Upper-West Side of Manhattan. “If Jerry Sienfeld converts to Mormonism, it will be because of these two missionaries.”

In other Mormon news… check out Agitating Faithfully… a statement of support for female priesthood in the Mormon church.

This is unacceptable

By , February 5, 2011 1:54 pm

From Oct. 2009 to Sep. 2010 a total of 253 people were found dead on the AZ border. From Oct. 2010 to Dec. 2010 there were 40 deaths on the AZ border. This is unacceptable.

“When large numbers of people are dying in remote wilderness conditions, the number of bodies recovered gives an indication, but only an indication, of the true loss of life.”

No More Deaths

By , February 1, 2011 11:23 pm

I just got sweet-sweet $10k approved by my school to take a group of 12 students to Tucson, AZ this Spring Break. Hurrah!!!

We are going to be doing work with the amazing organization No More Deaths.

Yet another reason I am so glad I switched to WCL from San Diego is that at the meeting basically the only question was, “will you be doing anything illegal?” and then the vote was unanimous to give us the dough.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Beyond Vietnam

By , January 17, 2011 9:29 pm

Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech given on April 4, 1967 (text here).

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society…A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies… True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

Also, no MLK Day would complete for me without Colby’s song about Dr. King.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.- Martin Luther King, Jr. April 4, 1967

That's me in the orange jumsuit

By , January 13, 2011 7:52 am

phone pic

Jan. 11 marked the beginning of a fast & ongoing actions by Witness Against Torture to demand the closure of Guantánamo and other foreign torture sites.

I marched from the White House to the DOJ with 172 others represting the 173 men still detained at Guantánamo. The Post covered the story. I am one of those in the orange jumpsuits.

Yesterday I hosted a film screening and panel at my school. The film was “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.”

The panelists were:

  • Juan Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Andy Worthington, British Journalist and Author, and Director of  the film “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo”
  • Frida Berrigan, Peace activist with Witness Against Torture and research associate at the World Policy Institute
  • Leili Kashani, Center for Constitutional Rights

The event was amazing. We had at least 100 people attend. That is the great thing about law school. You can get some really amazing people to come and speak.

There will be actions until Jan. 22, the day that Obama issued an executive order closing Guantánamo “withing a year”… two years ago.

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