The town hall-style event welcomes Naomi Ostwald-Kawamura while sending well wishes to retiring founder Tom Ikeda.
By Ashley Bucher, JACL Membership Coordinator
Around 50 friends of Densho gathered at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum at JANM in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo on Sept. 18 to give well wishes to outgoing Densho Founding Executive Director Tom Ikeda, as well as welcome and learn more about the nonprofit organization’s next executive director, Naomi Ostwald-Kawamura. The town hall-style event included an audience Q & A session, followed by an outdoor reception.
Ostwald-Kawamura, who was selected unanimously by Densho’s board and staff search committee, officially joined the Densho staff on Sept. 1 and will formally succeed outgoing Executive Director Ikeda on Nov. 2. She brings nearly two decades of nonprofit experience and is pursuing a Ph.D. in curriculum and pedagogy at the University of British Columbia, which she will defend this fall.
She looks forward to her new position and also recognizes the historic shift occurring with her transition.
“I take it not just as this lovely person retiring, it’s also a key cultural moment for the community, and what does it mean to sort of take on a leadership role in a community institution,” said Ostwald-Kawamura during the reception. “So, I take that with a lot of responsibility, and I think it warrants a lot of respect, and so I’m thinking through this transition period very thoughtfully and in partnership with Tom. … I feel l’m walking into an organization that feels very stable, that feels like it’s exciting and that the staff feel excited as well for this next chapter. I’m quite humbled and honored to be stepping into this role.”