Throughout the semester I’ve been working on a feature story about the Solidarity Singers a.k.a. the Solidarity Sing Along that has been going on for over two years at the Wisconsin State Capitol.
Only in July 2012, after over 150 days of peaceful sing alongs were they first punished by law enforcement. Shortly after Capitol Police Chief David Erwin was appointed by the Department of Administration, tickets were being given out almost daily to sing along participants, most for over $100.
The singers stayed peaceful, but quietly began protecting themselves with lawyers. Their singing only got louder though.
This was especially true on Monday, April 15, the day before Chief Erwin’s strict, new “emergency” rules were enforced. The video below is from that day, with over 30 participants on the first floor, and many spectators watching from above.
The future of the Solidarity Sing Along remains unclear. Brandon Barwick, the group’s de facto leader says that they will continue to be there as long as Scott Walker is governor. Capitol police are continuing to enforce harsher punishments on singers to keep them at home. So far, the singers have been successful in court, having all their cases dismissed.
Will dozens continue to show up at the Capitol every day for the next year and a half? Will they stay if Walker is re-elected for four more years?
Even though my official reporting is over, the story definitely isn’t.
I cannot wait to see what is in store for this group, and the Capitol police. Covering their conflicts over the last two and a half months has been fascinating, rewarding and inspiring.