Today, progressive activist Lily Baran announced her bid for the Reno City Council, Ward 1. Baran is best known for her activist work as a Black Lives Matter Organizer, a homeless advocate, and lists the ACLU and PlanNV on her resume. She also operates a community garden and food bank from her house in Ward 1.
Ward I spans the Downtown, Northeast, and the University neighborhoods and is currently represented by Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus, who will term out in 2024.
Baran attempted to represent Ward 3 via appointment back in 2022, but the council selected Miguel Martinez. Below is her application for appointment.
In her campaign announcement, Baran notes that she is “a dedicated community leader with a strong background in grassroots organizing, civil rights advocacy, and mutual aid…A proven champion for housing justice, the environment, reproductive freedom, and civil rights, Baran brings a wealth of experience to address the diverse needs of Ward 1 residents. Baran has demonstrated a deep commitment to justice as a champion of effective advocacy. Baran is committed to protecting the environment, housing, public safety through evidence-based practices, public health, and abortion access.”
“As a proud Ward 1 resident dedicated to serving my neighbors, I am excited to announce my candidacy for City Council,” Baran said. “After tremendous support from the community during the appointment process for the recently vacated seat, it is clear I have the trust of the people to lead Reno into the bright, thriving city that we all know is possible now that their voices can be heard at the ballot box.”
In a podcast recorded in July 2022, Baran contends that “Anarchism is the equalizer for everyone” in order to “combat the (capitalist) systems that oppress all if us” and further charges that “Capitalism is failing.”
Yet, Baran does acknowledge that she uses the capitalist system until ethical alternatives are built. “We are trying to shift from individualism to collective care,” Baran says. “We use our privilege to ask for money in order to do what is right.”
What is right, according to Baran, also includes abolishing the “inherently racist and classist” police and the prison system. “Cops aren’t necessary…Maybe the police don’t need guns anymore,” Baran claims.
Baran further admits that “shaming people in power” is her “favorite method” of activism, yet contends that “humanizing everyone will promote the systems we need to build.”
“The level of community involvement connects to your proximity to privilege A cis, heterosexual, white male with a fine amount of money and education or in a trade….it is difficult for that person to help an unhoused, black, trans woman. You have to tear down parts of yourself to help that person and you have to recognize where you stand and not participate in the rat race or climb up the ladder,” Baran states.
Baran lists the Nap Ministry and Dr. Ayesha Khan as her favorite Instragram accounts. The Nap ministry seeks to defeat capitalism and white supremacy through a restful resistance and Khan refers to herself as a “woke scientist” who labels Israel as a genocidal occupier and blames capitalism for the mental health crisis.
In a brief conservation with The Globe, Baran admits that it is nearly-impossible to abolish capitalism, but believes that individuals can shrink the wealth disparity in her community. Baran spoke of her community garden as a way to bring about socio-economic change, “I host a community garden out of my house and recycle food waste. I am able to capture the free food and distribute it. It doesn’t involve the government. There is enough of everything for everyone, it just depends on how people are given access to these things…The larger critique of capitalism is the disparity of wealth when there is clearly enough for everyone,” Baran told The Globe.
When asked how Baran politically identifies in a nonpartisan race, Baran claimed, “I identify with the policy choice that makes the most sense. I am a real policy-forward person. Fiscal responsibility is extremely important to me. Human rights are preserved best under a fiscal conservative lense. I am more about abolishing the way we are doing things now by reallocating funds from public safety to housing and mental heath services. I will also advocate for a line-item city budget so everyone can understand how much money we are spending on things. The City of Reno, unlike other cities, doesn’t have a line-item budget. I hope to bring more transparency to the city through a line-item budget.”
Baran hopes to bring a new perspective and harmony to the city council. “I look forward to bringing some harmony to the council and being solution-forward. Sometimes it is embarrassing to watch the council meetings as they veer from professionalism. Peace making, finding solutions and finding the middle of the road to unite folks is my strength. I think we could do a better job working closer with the county and city to come up with long-term solutions for the community,” Baran said.
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