Elected officials, community groups small businesses, and activists rallied on Thursday, August 27 to save the Key Food located at 22-15 31st Street. Speakers included NYS Senators Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos. Photos Courtesy of Senator Gianaris’ Office

The Astoria community and elected officials rallied to save a local Key Food and protect its workers. The above were joined by small businesses and activists to rally on Thursday, August 27 to call out Target for “predatory behavior” and save the unionized supermarket. The elected officials unveiled a joint letter calling on Target and the landlord not to evict Key Food (see the letter in this issue’s Letters to the Editor section).

The rally was held in front of Key Food at 22-15 31st Street, right next to the Ditmars Boulevard stop on the N/W MTA line. Speakers included NYS Senators Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos; Democrat nominee for Assembly, Dist. 36, Zohran Kwame Mamdani; Council Member Costa Constantinides’ staff, Congress Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ staff, Astoria Food Pantry Co-Organizer Macaela Sears, Astoria Mutual Aid Network Founder Maryam Shariat Mudrick, Small Business Advisory Council Member Roseann McSorley, and more.

Their statement on the reason for the rally: “Our Key Food at 22-15 31st Street is being forced by their landlord, Jenel Management, to move out so the landlord can demolish the building and make space for Target. This is part of a broader trend of wealthy corporations pushing aside long-standing Astoria businesses so they can transform the neighborhood and make huge profits. In the process, over 150 unionized supermarket employees at Key Food will lose their jobs in the middle of the COVID pandemic. Target will then likely hire at minimum wage with no benefits, while nearby small businesses are forced out by Target’s predatory practices. Rents will continue to skyrocket and Astoria will become unrecognizable.”