Arianna Sikes, 1979-2014, !Presente!
(APN) ATLANTA — Arianna Sikes, who served as a Policy Advisor and Senior Council Aide to Atlanta City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow (District 4), was found to have passed away on yesterday, May 24, 2014. She was described as a “breath of fresh air” at Atlanta City Hall.
“She was a wonderful staff person of mine. She will be greatly missed. She’s a person of the people. She was always a breath of fresh air and she didn’t talk about her problems that she had,” Winslow told Atlanta Progressive News, referring to Sikes’s struggles with seizures.
Winslow said that Sikes was always focused on “being a happy person and making other people feel good about themselves.”
Council President Ceasar Mitchell said Sikes was “extremely important to the fabric of our City.”
“Arianna was a kind and friendly person and I truly enjoyed our interactions over the years. I actually learned a great deal from her by way of her example and gentle spirit. She will be truly missed,” Mitchell told APN.
Sikes grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Douglass High School. She attended Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, earning a BA in Political Science; and Clark Atlanta University, earning a Masters in Public Administration. She also earned a Certification in Fundraising and Philanthropy from Texas A&M University, Bush School.
She founded her own grant writing company, the ADS Group, LLC, in 2012, where she served as CEO and Research Director. According to its website, the company “specializes in non-profit grant writing for community development programs and initiatives… [Sikes] has collaborated with The City of East Point, PrimeTime Family Reading Time, and Susan G. Komen.”
Sikes also did a lot of work with civic organizations in East Point, Georgia, including serving as the Chair of the Cultural Enrichment Commission.
She was also very involved with the Grace United Methodist Church.
“She originally lived in the West End, she carried on the tradition her mother and father taught her, which was giving back to the community, she gave back a lot… in her short life. Hopefully, she can be an inspiration to other young people… for all of us…” Winslow said.
“She was a bright personality. She had an extremely intelligent mind and just overall… very warm and bubbly. She will be missed. She’ll definitely be missed,” Councilman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) told APN.
“Arianna got it. She understood community. She loved the community. She loved people. So many people want to do community development work, but they don’t have a love for the people who live in the community, but Arianna did. She really got it,” Dwanda Farmer, a former resident of the district and fellow community agent for change, told APN.
“She was genuinely always a happy person, even when people gave her **** in the community,” Farmer said.
“She was a community agent for change,” Farmer said.
“I love you Arianna. My heart is broken,” Kristina Garcia-Bunuel, an aide to Councilman Bond, wrote on Sikes’s Facebook page.
She is survived by her mother, Janice Sikes-Rogers, and a brother, Troy Sikes.
A Celebration of Life for Arianna Sikes will be held on Friday, May 30, 2014, at 11am, at the Grace United Methodist Church, at 458 Ponce de Leon, NE, Atlanta, GA 30308.
Repast will be held at Calvary United Methodist Church, 1471 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW, Atlanta, GA 30310.