An Astoria community leader has launched her bid to replace Councilman Costa Constantinides when he is term-limited out of office in 2021.
Evie Hantzopoulos, a mother of three and an Astoria resident for 21 years, is the executive director of the activist youth educational non-profit Global Kids and has most recently co-founded Queens Feeds Hospitals, now known as Frontline Foods Queens.
The organization has thus far raised more than $300,000 to partner struggling restaurants such as Vecina and Zenon Taverna, sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic with frontline healthcare workers and NYCHA residents in western Queens. Hantzopoulos is also on the board of director of Lifeline Groceries and volunteers to make weekly grocery deliveries to families in need.
Hantzopoulos had experience in this type of organizing after she created Astoria Cooks for the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy, doing what she called “guerilla catering,” assembling large teams.
Hantzopoulos responded to the needs as they arose, with food, personal care, and clothing supply lines created on the sidewalks.
“That experience showed me how important it is to listen to people on the ground,” Hantzopoulos said.
As a community leader, Hantzopoulos is part of the Lead Organizing Team for Astoria Mutual Aid delivering groceries weekly to East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, and Astoria since the pandemic broke out in March. She is also chair of the Community Board 1 Housing Committee and is the co-organizer of the 31st Avenue Open Street in Astoria.
She says her work has given her a unique view of the needs of the Queens community and it has driven her to take the next step and run for the City Council.
“The heart of my work lies in the belief that people, not profit, should be the impetus for policies that are central to creating solutions,” Hantzopoulos said. “Engaging those that have been traditionally marginalized– immigrants, working-class, youth, people of color, NYCHA residents — is key to creating a just and equitable city and we’re at a point where we must dismantle the structures that have held so many back.”
Faced with launching a campaign during the era of social distancing, Hantzopoulos’s campaign will rely on the core beliefs that she says have always motivated her: Need, Equity, and Inclusion. She has entered an already crowded field including Constantinides’ chief of staff Nick Roloson, Jamie-Faye Bean, Leonardo Bullaro, Jesse Cerrotti, Felicia Kalan and Rod Townsend.