Youtube stop silencing the Oromo people and reinstate Raya Studio's Youtube channel

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Over the past decade, Raya Studio has been a vital platform for Oromo music for the Oromo community both in Ethiopia and across the globe. With nearly 200,000 subscribers and hundreds of video uploads, the Raya Studio YouTube page was a go-to source to view and enjoy uplifting Oromo music that showcased the culture, history, and the struggles of millions of Oromos. Despite unwarranted intimidation and threats from authoritarian Ethiopian government forces over the last few years, Raya Studio remained committed to providing a platform for Oromo artists and to elevating the cause of the Oromo people and other marginalized groups. Raya Studio provided hope and inspiration to those who so desperately needed it.

On October 8th, 2020, YouTube decided to remove the Raya Studio page, along with its hundreds of videos, from the platform. This sent shockwaves throughout Oromo communities across the world as now hundreds of Oromo artists are left without an outlet to express themselves, promote Oromo culture, and a means to address injustice and inequality in their nation. At this crucial juncture in history, it is imperative to amplify the voice of the marginalized and oppressed. Raya Studio stands with those who support freedom, justice, and equality for all, and removing their page from YouTube only silences those who diligently fight and advocate for those values.

With its decision to remove Raya Studio, Youtube has shown unfairness in its practices. While Scottish revolutionary songs like "Irish Rebel Songs - Come out and Fight" remain on youtube. Oromo songs which are sung in Afaan Oromo (the Oromo people's native tongue), in the spirit of artistic expression, with the exact same meaning are removed by Youtube. The removal of Raya Studio's channel sets a bad precedent. This means for content creators who are not English speaking or don't speak a language deemed by Youtube to be worthy of translators and culturally aware content moderators in their art, that their hard work may be removed from youtube due to a lack of reliable translators. 
 

We ask Google to reinstate Raya Studio's youtube channel and build a community that is inclusive of creators who create in their native language. No matter how big or small.