About 1,000 San Quentin prisoners munched on hot dogs, sipped fruit drink and soaked up rap and rock music on the Lower Yard for the 10th year, thanks to a group called Hitland Ministry.
“It’s a joyous day. It’s about being part of a community. It’s something to be appreciated. It’s been respectful by inmates and officers alike,” said Ronnie (Roc) Williams.
As bands played throughout the Saturday morning and well into the afternoon of June 30, on what is dubbed Hotdog Day, a line formed around the outer edges of the yard to get their snacks.
“We have more than 3,000 dedicated volunteers at San Quentin,” said Lt. Anderson, the watch commander. “That’s more than all the other prison have put together,” he added. “I appreciate the inmate volunteers too. I like to see these peaceful events it brings joy to the faces of the prisoners. Great job, Hitland.”
Inmates got back in line to get seconds, thirds, fourths, until all the hotdogs were grilled and eaten.
“I arrived here from Tracy State Prison. We never had anything like this at Tracy. I think it’s a blessing that the nice people come in here to feed us. It releases a lot of stress, promotes unity among inmates and people on the outside. These kind of events make me feel like I’m not in prison and instead at home,” said Ivan Serrano.
Robert Cole added, “I just recently arrived here from Solano State Prison. This is a humbling experience and I am very grateful. I’m thankful Hitland Ministries is showing the love of God to a convicted criminal like me.”
“Hitland is a wonderful event and they’re well organized and I commend all the staff and the organization for putting such a great event,” commented Steve Emrick, community partnership manager
HERE IS WHAT THE
MEN OF SAN QUENTIN
HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE CONCERT:
“The hot dogs are good. I’ve been in prison over 40 years and never seen this done anywhere else. Thank you Hitland.” — Joe Ybarra
“I just got here Thursday. Man, this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. I wish they would do this in every prison; it would really build up the morale.” — Danny Stevens
“This is my third time in line I just got here Thursday. I really like the atmosphere. It’s my first time ever experiencing this kind of love.” — Ronald Hill
“I’m grateful for the respect that everyone is giving to each other. Thank you, Hitland.” —Duane Whaley
“Hitland is doing a wonderful thing; it’s really nice to have people love and care for us this way.” — David Holt
“These are some good hot dogs, fresh and grilled. I would stand in line again. Thank you, Hitland.” — Mike Villanueva
“Hitland showed us this love, so I didn’t mind waiting in line so long.” — Jim Meinecke
Brandon Dawson and Devon Carter said they just got to San Quentin. They said they never saw anything like this in prison and were appreciative of Hitland.
“This gives me time to socialize with my friends. Hitland shows a lot of love. Just look at this long line!” — Adam Barboza
“This is my fourth time volunteering for Hitland, but my first coming into San Quentin. My other three visits were to the Juvenile Hall. It makes me feel good to give, and in return, I receive friendliness from all the guys. I’ve been serving the Lord since 1986 and really, everyone is my brother.” — Volunteer Bernie Chavez
“It’s not about the hot dogs, but about the love of God that comes with it. People say that God works in mysterious ways. What’s more mysterious than your heart being embraced by a hot dog, inspiration of music and good fellowship from Hit Land Ministry?” — Darnell Hill
“I’m having a great time and a good conversation with my friend. These are some good hot dogs. What a blessing.” — Todd Williams
“I’m just enjoying the music and good company. Thank you, Hitland, for the hot dogs. Thank you for all your support.” — Little Bear
“This is really a special thanks to Hitland. The music was very entertaining. People were respectful.” — Cornelius Wigfall
“Praise God for the opportunity to share this special day with the brothers and all the other volunteers with us.” — Tim Warren, community volunteer.
“It’s a perfect day for this; no doubt about it.” — John Nebelett
“It’s a good day to have everybody come together and see God in the people who are serving.” — Mike Tyler
“I’m very excited about the event. The men are encouraged, seeing that God cares.” — Jeannie Wilson, courageworldwide.org
“I love coming to these events and serving alongside everyone to share the love of Christ.” — Carlyn Garder, community volunteer.
“I’ve been in prison 30 years. It’s finally good to see authentic smiles on thousands of faces.” — Conley Dukes
“I’m very pleased how the day went and hopefully everyone received the good message.” — Walter Spraeka
“I’m impressed; I’m amazed. What a blessing to come out and serve. If I see nothing else, the smiles on the faces says it all.” — Rob Bezanson, community volunteer
“This event is a great day. Thank you to Hitland Ministry for building a positive program.” — Chrisfino Kenyatta Leal
“Thanks to Hitland and our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I want to especially thank the administration for allowing this even to go on.” — Corey Mceeil
“It’s truly a blessing to serve all of these men and see the smiles on their faces. It shows God loves us all.” — Calvin Coolidge Johnson III
“My ministry is about evangelism and defending the faith. I teach a class on Thursday night in the Protestant Chapel.” — Timothy Oliver, jesusiscreator.org.
“This is a very beautiful day. It’s a true expression of what Christian love is all about: breaking bread with one another, sharing good music and entertainment and allowing God to work in our hearts.” — Darryl Hill Sr.
“It was my absolute pleasure to serve and be here for the day.”— Robin Bezanson.
Here are some of the comments by Christian rapper Transparent:
“I usually perform at high schools, parks and churches. I’m used to giving, but when I come here, I’m always receiving something.
“My pops was a DJ in the ‘80s. He’d always say to me, ‘Let me see if you can rap.’ He’d take me to places where the were a lot of musicians. I listened to Cool Mo D and Michael Jackson. My mom was also a singer. It wasn’t until I gave my life to the Lord that things took off. I have been a Christian artist since 2009.
“I put out a CD called L.I.F.E. (Living In Favor Everyday). My latest album is D.O.P.E. (Dominating on Purpose Everyday).” Web site: transparent82.com.
Here are some of the comments by Christian rapper Saylah:
“After going to my first Christian hip-hop concert, I was inspired. I realized music was a way to relate to people. I understood how it could be used as a tool for the Kingdom.
“I started writing poetry, which I performed as spoken word, eventually developing into rap.
“This is my fourth time coming to San Quentin’s Hitland event. I leave here blessed.” Web site: www.Saylahflowz.com