'Nothing is impossible': Romford disability rights campaigner honoured with honorary law doctorate
PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:22 16 July 2019
An avid learning disability rights campaigner from Romford made history on Monday when he became one of the first people with learning disabilities to be awarded a doctorate.
Campaigner and advocate for the Learning Disabled charity 'Dimensions', Mark Brookes, was awarded an honorary law doctorate on Monday, July 15, from the The University of Kent.
He was granted the honour to mark his devotion and effort to tackle hate crime within the learning disabled community, both on and offline.
His graduation speech spoke of the difficulties he's faced on the campaign and the personal trauma his disability has made him endure.
Mark wasn't he wasn't blessed with the opportunities that most of us have, with no initial university degree, A level or even GCSE.
He suffered one hundred and fifty job rejections, prior to his self-advocacy, a sad testament to the fact that only 6pc of the learning disabled community find permanent work.
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He was a part of the prominent #ImWithSam campaign, which helped spread awareness about the harsh realities that the Autistic and Learning Disabled community face, particularly related to hate crime.
Mark has also trained more than 1,000 police officers, and called on government ministers — even dropping in at the House of Commons to make a speech, to get them to up their game.
In the wake of his successful speech, he said: "I hope my recognition inspires them to go on to whatever career they want to do and to stick up for themselves.
"It's a way to tell them to never give in to the doubts and fears that they are not good enough - this doctorate shows that nothing is impossible."
"When I hear stories of hate crime and abuse, I feel awful and sad.
"I know what people are feeling, because I continue to experience it myself. We have to keep pushing and going until this stops."
Mark Brookes is one of the first to be awarded an honorary doctorate in his bracket of disability, and has vowed to continue to be a leading influence in the community.