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The Cosmopolitan Review March. 20 - 26, 2014

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 3/20/2014, 2:02 p.m.

Spring is in the air. I got the first whiff of it a couple of days ago when the sun broke through the clouds. The wintry winds were just a tad bit warmer as the Earth revolved closer to the sun.

We welcome the spring equinox with open arms and, hopefully, we’ll soon welcome it with open coats as we ease into sweaters, sans winter hats and gloves. It’s not too early to pull out your spring attire and get prepared for warmer weather; it’s coming.

Voza Rivers was honored in style—as he very well should be—by the New Heritage Theatre at the 44th anniversary gala. Gathering at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center were honorary chairs former Mayor David N. Dinkins and the legendary performer and activist Harry Belafonte.

Rivers, with his visionary eye for talent and love of the theater, has dedicated so much of his time and energy to keeping good theater production alive and well.

Daniel Beaty, Dr. Roscoe Brown, Ruby Dee, Cliff Frazier, Natsu Ifill, Sylvia Hamlin, Bryon Lewis, state Sen. Bill Perkins, Shauneille Perry, Rep. Charles Rangel, Marcia Sells and Lloyd Williams were thrilled to serve on the Honorary Benefit Committee. Lending even further support were Jeff Burns Jr., Imhotep Gary Byrd, Stephen Davis, Irene Gandy, Geoffrey Eaton, Barbara Horowitz, Jamal Joseph, Lonette McKee, Blue Decasseres Michel, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Michael Unthank, Linda Walton, George Williams Jr. and Karen Witherspoon.

The audience was treated to performances by Beaty, Impact Repertory Theatre, Chuck Jackson, Debbi Morgan and Valerie Simpson. Morgan and Robert Townsend also joined Danny Glover as the evening’s hosts. Directed by Andre Robinson and produced by Valerie Graves, the tribute was all done in the true Rivers fashion, which is fabulous.

Michael Dutton, senior communications manager for the Executive Leadership Council and Foundation, was present to greet attendees like documentary filmmakers Marcia and Stanley Nelson to the networking reception held at the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

As you know, the Nelsons have quite a repertoire of well-made, intriguing and informative documentaries chronicling Black history in the United States. Their presence added a new dimension to the evening’s panel discussion, entitled, “Demystifying Dodd-Frank.”

Dodd-Frank is the abbreviated name for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It is named after Sen. Christopher J. Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank because of their significant involvement in the act’s creation and passage. Basically, the act established new government agencies, such as the Financial Stability Oversight Council and Orderly Liquidation Authority, to monitor the performance of companies deemed “too big to fail.”

The agencies were created in order to prevent a widespread economic collapse much like what the country experienced during the collapse of the housing market. Under the auspices of the act, the council can dismantle or restructure financial institutions that because of their size may systematically be too financially weak to provide the consumer with proper financial services.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was also born of the Dodd-Frank Act. This agency was created to prevent mortgage companies from predatory lending, and to oversee credit card companies and other consumer lenders and prevent them from misleading the public by requiring loan terms to be clear, concise and easy-to-read.