Revitalizing Oakland Education for Students
I work to actively secure fairness and justice without discrimination based on race – that is the world we aspire to live in.Darius Aikens
Did you grow up in Oakland? If not, what brought you to Oakland?
I lived in Oakland during my early years in life. At the age of 5 my family and I moved to Hayward, California. But, I’ve always had a connection to Oakland due to frequent visits to relatives. What brought me back to Oakland after nine years was a tragic moment in my life. My mother revealed that she could no longer take care of me, and I moved in with relatives.
What is your connection to Oakland Education?
How would you describe your role in the community?
I proudly serve as a Student Director for the Board of Education representing the voices of all of Oakland Unified School District’s amazing scholars. Additionally, I am actively involved in my community through the best organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In that capacity, I serve as the 2nd Vice President and Juvenile Justice Chair of the Youth Council advocating for the rights of my fellow African Americans. We work to actively secure fairness and justice without discrimination based on race–that is the world we aspire to live in.
What are your favorite aspects of your job?
My favorite aspect is that students have entrusted me with the responsibility of representing them. I am a voice for the voiceless.
What do you love most about Oakland?
I love the potential that Oakland has and the doors that it has personally unlocked for me. This is the city where I found God. Because of God first and this city, I was introduced to a me that I didn’t know was inside of me. In short, this is the land of opportunity, and new beginnings.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love going to church, and reading my Bible or just spending time with friends.
What motivates you?
What is your best advice to young people?
Don’t become weary or faint because of what you are going through. Everything that you endure is strengthening you, and preparing you for greatness. Be cautious of what you allow your spirit to be exposed to because everything influences you whether it’s music, television, people, a billboard, or whatever- it all has an impact on your life. Don’t let other people’s “No” stop you from God’s “Yes”. Stay encouraged!
If you were to reimagine public education in Oakland, what would that vision look like?
This would be a community where everyone learns and is held to high expectations that will lead them to do nothing but succeed in life. Ultimately, schools would become schools again.