OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Being a student director on the Oakland school board is a warm up. Because Darius Aikens says his goal is to become the city’s mayor.
“My dream is just to impact the lives of so many people,” he said. “I definitely think my childhood prepared me for this position.”
When Darius was nine years old, his father died of cancer. His mother had her own issues and was unable to care for the family. So, while still a child himself, Darius had to step in and raise his siblings.
“Many times I felt my life was worthless and that no one loved me,” he said. “Those days were really difficult, I remember my siblings and I went to school solely to eat.”
Despite those difficult years, Darius persevered and is determined to be a role model to his younger siblings.
“He just sees the good and the positive in everything he does,” said his history teacher and mentor, Isabel Toscano.
Today, Darius not only sits on the school board and works part time, he’s also the youth chapter president of the local NAACP and an ambassador for The Oakland Promise, a city initiative to triple the number of college graduates from Oakland.
“My purpose in life is not to give up, if I give up, who do my siblings have to look up to?” hea said. “They’re my motivation … I have to show them a better way of life.”
And that goes for everyone in his community.
“I just really do hope I can continue to be a voice for the voiceless and vulnerable. I just want to do all the good I can for as many people as I can.”