Hotel Kimpton Buchanan was used during the pandemic to house the homeless – a move that was supported by the Japantown community. However, news that city officials intended to purchase the hotel and permanently convert the building into supportive housing units, was met with strong pushback. Over 7,600 people signed a petition calling for city officials to rescind their offer.
Time was of the essence. Japantown community members had only two weeks to compile an economic vitality report and prove the financial importance of the hotel to Japantown. Before the deadline, however, the hotel owners decided not to sell, citing the Japantown community in their decision.
Peninsula Press’ Natasha Jessen-Petersen talks to Steve Nakajo, the executive director of the Japantown Taskforce, and others in the community to discuss the role of Japanese American history and the future of Japantown.
Natasha Jessen-Petersen spent the past five years as a data analyst working with strategic communications for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, where her reports on communication findings and recommendations were presented and shared with colleagues globally. Prior to her work with UNHCR, Natasha worked for numerous NGOs, such as Amnesty International, wrote for the Danish paper The Murmur, and served as a Teach for America Fellow in New York. Natasha has a Master’s from the University of Copenhagen in Advanced Migration Studies, which she received after graduating magna cum laude from the Tufts University and School of the Museum of Fine Arts Dual Degree Program. Her Honors Thesis at Tufts was awarded the John S. Gibson Award for best undergraduate thesis in International Relations.