The Voice Project describes its work as utilizing "the power of music to effect positive social change, promote human rights and defend freedom of expression around the globe. We strive to see how far a voice can carry."
A number of weeks ago, a camera crew from the Voice Project came to Madison, Wisconsin. They recorded a lot of short takes and a few long interviews with participants of the Solidarity Sing Along, a singing protest that has been held at the Wisconsin Capitol every weekday since March 11, 2011.
Hundreds of singers had been arrested in the Capitol Rotunda over a few weeks last summer after Governor Walker's administration attempted (and failed) to get rid of the Sing Along. The Voice Project came to document their story. They gathered additional photos and video from local Wisconsin photographers and eventually assembled a stunning video exposing the folly of Walker's Capitol crackdown. That video was released today, and even we who were featured in the video were shocked and delighted to find it included a personal message from two members of Pussy Riot.
It didn't take long for news of the video to spread and for right-wing heads to start exploding. Comment sections on newspaper sites all over the state were quickly filled with both crude denunciations and statements of support.
But why talk about it? Go here to view the video, then sign a petition urging the Wisconsin Attorney General to dismiss the remaining charges against the Wisconsin Capitol singers
One of the strangest responses today came from the office of Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. He seemed quite irked by being called out by Pussy Riot. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
In an emailed statement, Dana Brueck, communications officer for Van Hollen's office, challenged the video's attempt to connect the case of Madison's singing protesters and Pussy Riot....Got that? Fear. Permission. Arrests. Angry denials of the obvious.
"Unlike Russia, no one has been arrested for the content of his or her speech," Brueck said.
"Unlike Russia, any person could have gathered peaceably and espoused whatever message he or she wished without fear of a citation if he or she obtained a permit, or under the current rules, a reservation."
So unlike Russia.