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'You're fabulous and you're beautiful' - Meet Ms. Dee, on a mission to empower women

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 29, 2019 - Duration: 01:48s

'You're fabulous and you're beautiful' - Meet Ms. Dee, on a mission to empower women

"Hey There Beautiful" is Ms. Dee’s workshop that empowers Brooklyn girls and women.

Rough Cut (no reporter’s narration).

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'You're fabulous and you're beautiful' - Meet Ms. Dee, on a mission to empower women

Dailisha Eve Rodriguez, also known as Ms. Dee, runs the "Hey There Beautiful" workshop to empower women and girls in local communities in Brooklyn.

"They're looking for solutions with domestic violence," she says, "they're looking for solutions for jobs and housing, and a lot of them just want to know that their loved." Her efforts come just as the U.S. Congress is looking once again into the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that would constitutionally guarantee equal rights for women.

The amendment was introduced in 1923.

Congress approved it in 1972, but it fell short of being ratified by enough U.S. states by a deadline set for 10 years later.

Now, with a record 117 women elected or appointed to Congress following last November's midterm elections, and in the era of the #MeToo movement, some hope to lift that deadline or reintroduce the amendment as soon as 2020.

Rodriguez cheers for the broader women empowerment movement.

"Once one person's healed, they can then heal someone else," she says.

"And so that's our goal is to, not just heal each other and lift each other up, but to empower one another and that's what wakes me up.

That's what keeps me motivated and that's why I do what I do.

I love this work.

I'm in love with this work.

This work is what I was supposed to be doing." But she also believes change has to come from within.

She came up with the idea to create "Hey There Beautiful" after her grandmother's death in 2014.

Just like her, Rodriguez wanted to create a safe haven for girls and women, where they can write down their goals, talk them out with other participants, and receive guidance and support.

One such woman is Jada Edmunds, who attended her first "Hey There Beautiful" workshop during her last semester at the Victory Collegiate High School.

"It pushed me to go the extra mile, it pushed me to want to be the better me," she says.

Claubentz Dieujuste, the principal for the Victory Collegiate High School, says Rodriguez's workshops help fill a void.

"We are in a community where our kids have so many needs, they're going through so much," he says.

"And so for them to have that extra support, especially girls coming from homes where they don't have that supportive mother figure or father figure, it's really important." Ernee Peppers decided to participate in the "Hey There Beautiful" workshop after having Rodriguez as a guest on her own TV show.

"She makes you believe and pours into you that you are the best, you are fabulous, you are beautiful," she says.

"You can be anything you want.

As long as you put your mind to it." Educator, speaker, and coach Kerry-Ann Elliott-Totten says she came to the workshop to get clarity.

"The way she twists some of the activities, it turns into something that's so empowering," says Elliot-Totten, "and you get to speak power and speak life into yourself.

She's amazing." For the time being, Rodriguez teaches in Brooklyn, but she wants the message of "Hey There Beautiful" to reach people around the world.

(Production: Aleksandra Michalska)

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