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16 June 2020

Making a stand against racism: A message from our CEO

Profile shot of Neil Coughlan.
Written by Neil Coughlan

A message from Neil Coughlan on our stance against racism and the initial steps we are taking as a business to educate ourselves and make a positive change for the future.

The world will never be the same after 2020. This might instil a sense of sadness in some, but for others, it creates hope. Hope that all the pain and sacrifice of the protests taking place around the world may finally bring about significant change to the way black people are treated by society.

Having seen various responses to this significant moment, we’ve decided that to remain silent would be complicit in keeping things as they are. Allow me to make it clear: discrimination of any kind has no place at ThirdSpace. Not now, not ever.

But that’s not nearly enough – far from it.

The death of George Floyd and the justified pain, outrage, and global protest it has awoken has kindled some long-overdue introspection.

I’m reminded of a trip I took to Washington a few years ago, where I visited the National Museum of African History and Culture. I was shocked by what I learnt there – the extent of British involvement in slavery, the history and continued inequality. Yet, when I left, I took no action. I made no efforts to educate myself further or make any significant changes to my life or business.

Looking at it now, I begin to realise the extent of the privilege afforded to me to be able to do that. To be able to turn away, write it off as history and go back to my life. But for many, that history which had so shocked me continues to have very real consequences for black people around the world.

And that needs to change. It is not enough to simply be non-racist – we must be actively anti-racist.

To that end, we have taken a long look at how ThirdSpace can take action to improve and work towards real, tangible change for the better.

In the immediate, we have made a donation to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to support their efforts at both a local and national level to educate and instigate change in systems and policy.

We will seek external consultation to better educate ourselves on privilege, racial bias, diversity and inclusion. This will also inform deeper organisational change and development to ensure that ThirdSpace continues to be a place open to people of all races, colours and creeds.

We shall also conduct a review of our brand values, one of which is respect, and ensure that they truly represent and communicate the fair and equal company we aspire to be.

Looking ahead to the future, we’re working closely with the University of South Wales to broaden our recruitment opportunities. They are already doing a fantastic job at getting students from all backgrounds into the world of cyber security, and we’d like to support them in that effort further by providing advice, experience and career opportunities.

There’s a long way to go, and these are just some of our first steps towards improvement. I’m sure we’ll discover and embrace further changes as we progress along this journey.

For too long have black people stood alone against privilege and ignorance. It is high time we took it upon ourselves to stand alongside them and seek education on how each of us can be a better ally in the fight against racism.

Neil Coughlan
ThirdSpace CEO

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