Crowdfunding campaign: Save Oyoun. Protect artistic freedom

© Nat Gass

Go directly to the gofundme campaign here.

Over the last days and weeks our work has changed abruptly. Instead of planning and implementing an extensive cultural programme for 2024 and 2025, we are now facing the immediate withdrawal of the €1 million in annual funding, which we need to pay our 32-strong team a salary, and the consequential closure of Oyoun.

On November 20.11.2023th, XNUMX, we only found out by chance, via the live stream of the cultural committee meeting, that Berlin's Senator for Culture Joe Chialo (CDU) close the Oyoun within 5 weeks and we will open our community space on Lucy-Lameck-Str. have to vacate.

Our request to inspect the files, which we made immediately after the committee meeting, has remained unanswered to this day and there is a fundamental rejection of constructive dialogue on the part of the Cultural Senate. However, our legal report from Myrsini Laaser (lawyer for criminal and migration law) indicates that this is our 4-year project funding (2022-2025). a binding promise and the funding does not expire in December 2023. We are confident and will defend against this arbitrary decision.

We now rely on your support to at least cope with the high legal and court costs that lie ahead of us. Your support not only means supporting the fight for the existence of the Oyoun, but it also stands for the protection of freedom of expression and artistic freedom in Germany. Every contribution, big or small, makes a difference. The Senate is trying to make an example of us and thus set a long-term signal for future cultural policy. We will fight this for all of us and demand compliance with the law.

Together we can show that our #Oyounity as a community is strong enough to defend ourselves against arbitrary decisions made by Berlin's cultural policy.

Every euro you donate goes directly towards the necessary legal steps we have to take. Let us fight together for the future of Oyoun and ensure that the voices of the many are not silenced.

Many of you have asked how you can best help us: Here comes a concrete measure. If you are unable to donate yourself, you can talk to friends and acquaintances about the events, follow our channels and share this campaign.

// What happened until now:
The Senate carried out threats made at a culture committee meeting on November 06.11.2023th, 20.11.2023 and announced on November 2025th, 4 that Oyoun's funding would end until the end of the year. This goes against a promise of funding that was guaranteed to us until at least the end of XNUMX. The reason given for this is a guest event on November XNUMXth, a memorial service that the “Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East” held on that evening. This event, and therefore also the Oyoun, was labeled “hidden anti-Semitism” without us – despite repeated requests – being given solid reasons or without any investigation into these allegations.

This decision has far-reaching implications. Over 30 people, employees and fellows, lose their jobs in a very short space of time. In some cases this also includes your residence permit.

In just five weeks we have to clear the 3.800 square meter house on Lucy-Lameck-Strasse to make room for a new concept that has yet to be determined.
That and the prospect of the house sitting empty for an indefinite period of time is stressful and unbearable.

// What it means:
These changes not only mean the end of jobs, but also the closure of spaces for cultural participation. Communities that are often excluded from institutionally supported contexts must reorganize themselves in Berlin's current, hostile cultural landscape.

This decision is not only a setback for Oyoun, but also a wake-up call for freedom of expression and cultural diversity beyond Oyoun – in Berlin and throughout Germany.

The allegations affect the entire, very diverse community. It is more important than ever to stand together now to fight unfounded allegations. Our curatorial work is characterized by cultural diversity, collaboration and the pursuit of freedom of expression.
Our strength lies in showing that different voices must come together to achieve democratic insight. Your support gives us the strength to meet the challenges we face. You show us and others how important Oyoun is for Berlin.

Your solidarity means a lot to us – thank you!

The Oyoun team