Orange County Second Grader Asks Mayor To Change 'Men Working' Sign To 'Workers Present'

A second grader in Warwick, Orange County, is being heralded as a trail blazer. The young girl noticed a road sign in her community she found sexist and spoke up about it; CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reports.

Video Transcript

- A second-grader in Warwick, Orange County is being heralded as a trailblazer.

- You can call it a sign of the times. The young girl noticed a road sign in her community she found sexist, and she spoke up about it. CBS 2's Kiran Dhillon has the story.

KIRAN DHILLON: About a week ago while being driven around her hometown of Warwick, seven-year-old Brynn Hasbrouck noticed a sign at a construction site that didn't quite sit well with her.

BRYNN HASBROUCK: I saw the sign, and it said "men working." And I was like, "hm, but what if there are men and women working?"

KIRAN DHILLON: Frustrated, the second-grader decided to do something about it.

BRYNN HASBROUCK: Dear Mr. Mayor, there is a road sign that says--

KIRAN DHILLON: She wrote a letter to the village mayor, who just happens to be her neighbor, and walked it right over to his house. She asked the signage be changed from "men working" to "workers present."

BRYNN HASBROUCK: If he can make change in our town, then why not? I sent the note to him to see if he can do it.

KIRAN DHILLON: The mayor says he was shocked and bewildered to come home to a handwritten letter from his young neighbor.

MICHAEL NEWHARD: Such an important observation from such a young person. You know, she kind of hit to the heart of the matter, as to, you know, being inclusive.

KIRAN DHILLON: The federal government has required that all traffic signs be gender neutral since 1978. New York State follows those guidelines. But state officials say it is possible that old signage still exists, and that private companies still use the old terminology. Here in Warwick, the mayor has now made a commitment to Brynn. Any signs that say "men working" will be replaced. And he's encouraging any young person with a suggestion for change to also speak out.

MICHAEL NEWHARD: Isn't that great? This is because of you.

The government is a tool for them to have their voices heard. So never hesitate to say, "what do you think about this idea?"

KIRAN DHILLON: Hasbrouck's father, a high school dean, agrees.

AARON HASBROUCK: This is something you teach high school kids, to be involved in their community and how to go about activism. So for her to do this on her own, unsolicited, was pretty impressive.

KIRAN DHILLON: His daughter doesn't consider herself a trailblazer.

Do you know what a feminist is?


KIRAN DHILLON: Do you know what an advocate is?


KIRAN DHILLON: But what she does know is that her voice matters.

BRYNN HASBROUCK: I feel really good because I'm a girl and we should be respected for who we are.

KIRAN DHILLON: As for her future, she's not ruling out a run for mayor down the road. In Warwick, Orange County, Kiran Dhillon, CBS 2 News.

- Mayor, governor, senator,

- Anything she wants.

- President, Whatever you'd like.

- Listen to her now, she could get elected. She's making a lot of sense.

- I love it.