Kateaka Andrews on Education and Opportunity
Kateaka Andrews remembers when downtown Omaha was the cultural center of the area’s Black community, but sees that legacy fading over time as historical buildings are torn down, small standalone museums downsize into mall spaces, and the older generation passes on. As a result, she makes education, in and out of Kutak Rock, a priority.
At Kutak Rock, she pours her energy into the firm’s African Heritage, African, and Black Affinity Group. She originally joined the group “to learn more about each other and what more we can do,” and enjoys the fellowship and platform for education the group provides.
It makes me feel a part of something bigger. I like feeling more involved with the Kutak Rock family.
For several years, Kateaka has coordinated an educational opportunity for Black History Month in Omaha, and has supported other offices in doing the same. She fondly recalls the first year in Omaha when Great Plains Black History Museum’s board president and retired Omaha World Herald editor Rudy Smith delivered a presentation. The museum also provided artwork and a number of artifacts for attendees to view. “We had a lot of support from attorneys, a lot of support from staff coming in and listening to our presenters and taking time out of their day, so I think that was a huge success. We had ‘Did You Know?’ cards and people really loved those.”
Another year, the firm hosted Robert Holtz, the last remaining Tuskegee Airman from Nebraska (and one of the last members still living), who spoke with audience members about his time in the service. But 2018’s Black History Month art exhibit is still Kateaka’s favorite event.
The most satisfying accomplishment for me personally was bringing in young, Black artists who might not ever get a spotlight or don’t know how to get themselves into the spotlight, and giving them an opportunity to be known and be seen. That was the most satisfying to me, to see people working toward their dreams.
In addition to hosting the art exhibit, the firm donated to Love’s Jazz and Art Center, a local organization dedicated to preserving and promoting African American art and jazz.
Kateaka enjoys broadening horizons through education and hopes the group’s efforts will continue to foster a welcoming environment in the firm. “I’ve been here six years, and in those six years I have seen more minorities come in here than I ever would have thought. I’ve seen so many young, Black women that it really makes you proud,” she says. Kateaka also enjoys opportunities created by the group to meet new people, whether through meetings, events, or pipeline activities, noting, “It’s fun to work with attorneys and staff” on efforts that make an impact.