Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.

Hooper Avenue Elementary School has become the second certified Nature Explore Classroom within the Los Angeles Unified School District after receiving national certification from the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. As the nation’s second largest school district, LAUSD is on the cutting edge of a growing movement to broaden outdoor learning opportunities for children, particularly in urban areas where many grow up missing out on nature-rich experiences. Nature Explore Classrooms are part of the Nature Explore program, a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation developed in response to the growing disconnect between children and nature. Certified Nature Explore Classrooms help fill the void by integrating research-based outdoor learning into children’s daily lives.
With Christmas right around the corner, dating website conducted a study to reveal which cities were on the naughty or nice list. surveyed 2,750 members in Los Angeles to find whether the City of Angels would live up to its name. Forty-one percent of Angelenos admitted to being guilty of “envy” more than three times every week, earning its place at No. 4 on the “Naughty List of American Cities.” conducted a study using members from different cities in the United States out of the website’s more than 450,000 worldwide users. The study examined which of the seven deadly sins each person was guilty of and approximately how often they committed them. The cities with the most people who committed a sin more than three times every week were placed on the naughty list. Overall, results found the United States was most guilty of “pride” this year with about 30 percent of Americans admitting to committing the sin more than three times every week. Among the “Naughty List of American Cities” was Los Angeles, which beat out Las Vegas for the No. 4 spot, while the “Nice List of American Cities” included surprises such as Tampa at No. 3 and New Orleans at ninth place.
RollingOut CEO and Publisher Munson Steed, center, poses with honorees and hosts of the 2012 Mirror Mirror Awards–Hollywood. Colgate Optic White, RollingOut Magazine and recently presented the Mirror Mirror Awards–Hollywood honoring, Vanessa Bell Calloway (“Shameless”), Elise Neal (“Belle’s”), Kyla Pratt (“Let’s Stay Together”), Naturi Naughton (“The Client List”), Joyful Drake (“Let’s Stay Together”), Necole Bitchie (, Dawn Richard (“Dirty Money”), Kym Whitley (“Animal Practice”), and Gloria Govan (“Basketball Wives LA”) as entertainment industry trendsetters who embody the style, elegance and glamor of Hollywood. The event was hosted by Sharif Atkins (“White Collar”) and BET reality star Toya Wright (“Toya: A Family Affair”), who were joined by more than 200 Hollywood tastemakers and celebrity guests.

District of Columbia
President Barack Obama announced the appointment of Althemese Pemberton Barnes to the National Museum and Library Services Board. The board is the advisory body for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and members are selected to serve based on their expertise and commitment to libraries or museums. Barnes is the executive director of the John G. Riley Museum, which she founded in 1996. In 1997, she established the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network, a statewide professional museum association.
At a roundtable meeting held recently in the West Wing of the White House, the Black Women’s Agenda Inc. led 15 of its 18 National Collaborating Organizations in announcing support for President Obama’s efforts to reach a deal with Congress that would avoid the “fiscal cliff”–tax increases and deep spending cuts that would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. In the presence of Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president, and Tina Tchen, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Black Women’s Agenda lauded the president’s commitment to working with the leadership of both houses of Congress, and urged him to eliminate tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and maintain the current tax rate for the middle class and senior citizens. The fiscal cliff is the result of Congress and the White House’s inability to reach an agreement on expiring tax cuts and reducing the national debt. With no break in the impasse, the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 require automatic cuts in defense and “across-the-board” spending, and an increase in taxes for virtually every American family.

The Young & Powerful Group (YPG) announces a series of six events Jan. 18-21, 2013, in Washington, D.C., in celebration of President Barack Obama’s second term. Simultaneously hosted during the official Inauguration weekend, the group has assembled diverse events to honor the pivotal role that young Americans played in re-electing the president. Starting with a kickoff reception and culminating with a black-tie gala on Inauguration Day, YPG invites emerging leaders, young innovators, politicos, and civic organizations to partake in these six remarkable events. A national grassroots campaign of the Young & Powerful Political Action Committee, Young & Powerful for Obama embarked on a multi-city circuit that resulted in more than 25 fundraising receptions across the country in cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York City and Charlotte, raising more than $250,000 during the 2008 and 2012 campaigns. The organization also fueled massive volunteer efforts through Get Out to Vote (GOTV) initiatives with bus trips to key battleground states.

Keisha Washington, a candidate for a master’s of arts degree in museum studies at Southern University at New Orleans is using the skills that she has learned at the university to support the work of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp. She recently hosted a photography exhibition entitled “Satchmo’s Kids: Students’ Conversations with Musical Instruments” at Le Musee de f.p.c. The exhibit will highlight the talent of young musicians who have been a part of the programs through the work of photographer JR Thomason. The camp, founded in 1995, has annually offered intensive music instruction for young people, ages 10-21, under some of the best musicians in the city. Under the direction of Jackie Harris, the program has received international recognition for its contribution to jazz music education. Over the years, eminent musicians such as George Duke have lent their expertise and guidance as instructors.

OneUnited Bank has won $415,000 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bank Enterprise Award (BEA) program for its community development lending. This award is the maximum amount provided to any recipient and marks the 10th time the bank has received the honor. The BEA program is administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and provides an incentive to FDIC-insured banks to expand the availability of credit, investment capital and financial services in distressed urban and rural communities. These awards complement the community development activities of an elite group of certified CDFI banks and thrifts and recognize their support of distressed communities.