Video 2of "Interview with Mr. Ray Hill."
Table of Contents
Death Row Inmates
Views on Prison Reform
Gang Rejection and Disassociation program
Involvement in Paul Broussard Case
Views on the Criminal Justice System
HILL: --in prison and they
damn sure don’t want to be buried in a prison cemetery. So they will get
married to somebody so they can claim that body and bury it elsewhere. Of
course, other guys like my old friend Carl Napier didn’t want to be buried
Those were where his brothers were. And so he is buried in the
inmate cemetery in Huntsville and as his footstone, is his United States Marine
Corp tombstone provided by the government, including the Purple Heart and the
Medal of Honor insignia on it.
They were going to execute him but he wrote me
and said, “I got these mothers beat.” And I said, “What do you mean Carl? Ain’t
nothing going on in your case. I’m following it.” He said, “Well, I got this
hepatitis C and that will kill me before they stick needles in me.”
was accurate. Which means his tombstone has Carl Napier and it was back when
they had three digit Death Row numbers, and he’s got a three digit number, but
it has no X in front of it. So he died of natural causes on Death Row.
I met some fascinating people. Several of my friends have been
executed. Carl died without being executed. I consider him my friend. I used to
go visit him. He’s an old bandito gangster out of Channelview, Texas.
CHAMMAH: Would you be
interested to talk a little bit more about some of the other individuals?
Carl was fascinating. Billy Hughes was probably the closest. Billy Hughes for a
while did on the Prison Show a regular series called, “Inside Man Report.”
so I‘d have to send a student from Sam Houston up to Death Row on Wednesdays,
which is media day, and they’d call Billy out and Billy would come and they’d
hold a microphone up next to the visiting room speaker space and record Billy’s
five minute report on the prison show.So “The Inside Man Report” came from
Billy Hughes and Billy was a very significant organizer on Death Row.
Billy’s help and a young sergeant on Death Row by the name of Wayne Scott, who
would later become Director of Prisons, Wayne Scott was a sergeant and Billy
got close to Wayne and said, "You know these guys are dying of boredom in
They’re in the cells twenty-four seven. They might go recreate and
might shower, but otherwise they’re in the cell and we need a work project.“ So
Wayne Scott was able to get them two sewing machines and a cutting table and
they made the blue uniforms in which people were executed.
What they wore to
execution was a blue, navy blue, because that was during the Old Sparky electrocution
days, so they were split here [motions to arm] so they could strap their arms
onto the plates and they were grounded and the legs were split so they could do
that, so they were electrocuted in special-made suits, and the inmates on Death
Row made those suits to fit the person about to be executed, and they were very
good at sewing, so they started making the guard uniforms.
So they made guard
uniforms and guards would prize the uniforms made by Death Row, because they
just took more care of it. So that was called the Death Row Works Project and
that continued as long as Billy was alive and was discontinued after the Gurule
escape attempt. And Wayne Scott brought that in as sergeant and it lasted,
Wayne Scott took it out as Director of Prisons.
And see, when I say Billy
Hughes and Wayne Scott, when they were about to execute Billy, I went up to
visit Billy and because I said, Billy, don’t ask me to witness your execution.
That’s more than I want to handle. He said, “Well, will you come see me,
because if you’re not going to witness my execution, you can come see me as
And I said, All right, I’ll do that. So I went up as media to visit
him. We had a long visit about two weeks before he was executed and after that
visit I went by the director’s office and told Wayne Scott’s secretary, I want
to talk to the director. And she said, “About Billy Hughes?”
knew I’d gone to visit him. I said, Yeah. And she said, “He is aware of what
you’re gonna say.” And I said, Well, let me say it anyway. I went in and I
said, Wayne, you knew Billy. He’s a friend of yours. You all worked together
and did some worthy things. They’re going to execute him.
Don’t you think you
owe him the courtesy of a visit? And he said, “I was afraid you was gonna ask
me that.” I said, You know I was going to ask you that. And he said, “yeah.”
That night he slipped over and visited Billy. Just because somebody’s about to
be executed, that doesn’t destroy a friendship or loyalty, or that human
contact, which I think they try to cut down.
And Wayne is Director of Prisons.
Nobody knows that even better than he. But Wayne was the best director I ever
worked worth. Best Death Row sergeant I ever worked with. He was a real
professional. He was a guest on the prison show every year when he was the
Director of Institutional Division and then Director of the Prison System. And
I consider Wayne my friend now.
And I consider Willett my friend. Willett’s
been a guest on the prison show. Scared to death of me. They’re all a little
afraid of me because I got the switches and the knobs and they know if we get
in a pissing match, they can’t win. You can’t Rush Limbaugh on his show. He’s
got switches and knobs to make sure of that.
I’ve been in radio all my life and
I love radio. It’s my medium, and I studied media theory under a fellow by the
name of Marshall McLuhan. And Marshall McLuhan was the wizard, and the thing
about radio is that if it’s a live performance, there’s the stage up there
where those people are doing that, if it’s television, there’s the box over
there with the lights in it.
If it’s print media, there’s words on the page.
With radio, it’s your imagination. So you don’t have to complete the picture.
You just start them imagining, and they’ll finish it for your. Radio might be twenty
percent of the received message. The other eighty percent comes from the
listeners experience and imagination, and I’ve always been fascinated by that.
It’s really an intimate bond between the guy with the microphone or the person
with the microphone and the man or women with the headphones on. And the prison
system did me a great favor.
They took the speakers out of the radios because
somebody’s hip hop music would be drowning out somebody else’s country western
music or vice versa and all that and when they did that, my listeners—one of
the reasons they did that is because every Friday night the convicts would
gather around the person with the best radio.
And listen to the prison show. So
they took the speaker out. So they had to use headphones. Well it didn’t take
convicts thirty minutes to figure out how to string, hook up headphones and so
everything I say is basically concentrated to the convicts’ ears.
And it’s not
like ordinary radio where there’s a million distractions, like you’re driving or
you’re cooking, all the stuff you can do listening to radio, they’re just
sitting there listening and it gives me an inordinately tight connection with
And when doing the radio show, I’m not taking to the free world
people, I’m talking to the convicts. Free world people get to eavesdrop and
there’s something fascinating about eavesdropping on somebody else’s
conversation.I’m talking to convicts and they know I’m talking to them and no
body else talks to them, but me. And that’s something they treasure and value.
CHAMMAH: And what was that
transition like from—because you had said you had started talking sort of to
free world people, that was your original—
HILL: I never did get that
audience. I just—it’s kind of like one of the things I do professionally is I
teach people how to do time and the problem with that is nobody is willing to
admit they’re about to do time until it’s too late. I have to do some of those
classes in county jails.
But doing time is a skill that you can learn. And I’ve
met some tough cases. I was hired to go up to East Texas to Jacksonville, Texas
to teach a young Iraqi guy to do a life sentence for murder. And I went up
there and you would think that an Iraqi would have a hard time in Texas prisons
Especially when they’re for murder, and then I found out that the
person he killed was an Iranian, so I think that convicts would say, “Iraqi,
Iranian, this is other people’s business.” Oh dear. And the theory of the case
was that this guy got up in the middle of the night in a dorm room and killed
his dorm roommate.
And the only explanation he had for that is that, “In my
sleep he raped me." Well, that didn’t happen but it may have happened in a
dream during his sleep. And so this guy woke up after apparently to him was a
very realistic dream, went across the dorm room and killed a sleeping dorm
And of course the jury was very confused and so Scrappy Hines
[spelling?], the lawyer who handled the case said, “You know this is hard for
me to explain a guy fantasizing about a homosexual act.” And I said, The guy’s
not homosexual; the guy’s transgendered.
He said, “He can’t be transgendered,
he’s got hair all over, growing out of the neck band of his t-shirt.” I said,
“Well, you miscalled that one.” And so he got a new trial and they were able to
get him I think twelve years.
And he is now in—not in prison, in the Rusk
Institution for the Criminally Insane, because he’s dealing with post stress
depression because of what he did and just trying to integrate.
But the obvious
is not always obvious, and trying to talk to an East Texas criminal defense
lawyer about the difference between being gay and being transgendered is
enormous. But guess who understands all that from his experience?
So what I
learned in the gay-lesbian-transgendered community comes in handy in the
criminal justice stuff too. It’s all—some kind of continuity to my life
experience that I’m able to be useful in these things. And it’s helpful. And
oh, by the way the guy wasn’t Muslim, which you would think an Iraqi might be.
He was Pentecostal. His parents were Muslim, but he was Pentecostal. And I
said, No they’ll think you’re crazy with all that religious stuff, so you’ll
make it pretty well. And he did, he prospered in prison. And there’s no reason for
gay people to be afraid of prison if you just know how to do it, how to survive
I don’t care what your handicap is, you can figure out a way to make
that work so that you—prison is full of all kinds of people and if I could just
get them to think better—if I could get them to realize they had a future. You
know one of the problems we have in the criminal justice system.
We have this
enormously high recidivism rate. Seventy percent of people who go to prison the
first time will go back for the second. Eighty percent of those who go a second
time will come back for a third. If you come for the third time, you’re going
to be in prison until you’re in your mid fifties or sixties and that idea just
kind of wears out.
So you look at those statistics and you say, Well, nothing
can be done. A great deal can be done. Go to Minnesota. Except in one old
prison, which is like one of those fortresses, those stone wall things in
Minnesota, the rest of the prisons in Minnesota have less security than my
cheap Montrose apartment and the people who go there have a recidivism rate of
about twenty percent.
Now they’re putting out statistics, the Colson Prison
Ministry stuff is putting out statistics that say they get an eight percent
recidivism rate on people that find Jesus through their program, but that’s a
lie. It’s just not true.
As a matter of fact, you can go down to the Carol
Vance Unit here in the adjacent county, in Fort Bend County and you see people
back for the third time in pretty good numbers. So if that’s true, why do
people keep coming back for the third time after having gone through that
It’s because they say, “Well, he didn’t quite get off parole before he
violated and he came back in. It’s the state’s fault, not his fault.” No, those
people are going out and committing crimes again. They’re not changing their
They’re getting drunk again and they’re getting drugs again. The
greatest program to reduce recidivism rates is the program to get prisons out
of gangs. It’s called GRAD: Gang Rejection and I forget what the D stands
But they—that program is highly successful and the people
that go through that program and subsequently make parole, discharge their
parole if they’re not doing life, and they go on to lead productive lives
without returning. Why? Because they have made a significant change in their
perception of who they are.
They had to overcome thinking that they were white
members of a superior race. And when you take that identity away from them,
then you’ve got the raw material to make a whole person. But they have to
reject that. You can’t take it away from them.
They have to reject it because
if you try to take it away from them, they’ll defend it. And I’ve been
fascinated—I helped structure the GRAD program and helped get into Texas
prisons because what was happening is you had this increasingly large
population of people that were in solitary confinement costing prisons an
enormous amount of resources to incarcerate them, they were the most costly
prisoners in the institution and they were people with the least chance of not
But once you put in a program so they’d reject the gangs and you
gave them the carrots that come with getting out of gangs, they’d go back to
general population. “Well you can’t do it because it’s Blood in and Blood out.”
That’s just a myth. I go on the radio and I say, Yeah, I know about prison
Let’s see, that’s weak people being manipulated by cowards, isn’t it?
Which is a line I wrote for a motorcycle gang story back in the early sixties
when I was going to try and write and be a journalist, my article about
motorcycle gangs was not as good as somebody else’s. I was writing for The
Village Voice and they were writing for Rolling Stone. They
got Pulitzers and I became a footnote to their story.
But I realized that what
motorcycle gangs were, were weak people who were manipulated by cowards who
wouldn’t do the dirty work they would have the weak people do and I wrote that
in the article, and that kind of pissed off Sonny Barger of the Hell’s Angels,
but he got over it and whenever I said that about prison gangs on the radio,
the Aryan Brothers would put a hit on me.
And so the Houston Police Department
calls and says, “Mr. Hill, the Aryan Brothers has put a contract on you.” I
said, Yeah, I knew that. “Well somebody in south Louisiana has picked it up and
they’re on their way to Houston to kill you.” And I said, Well thank you very
much. “I don’t think you understood. What are going to do?”
And I said, I’m not
going to do anything. “Well, what do you want us to do?” And I said, I don’t
think you can do anything. “You don’t understand.” And I said, Yeah, this is
what you told me. “Well, why don’t you want to do something?”
And I said, Well,
let me tell you want will happen to somebody in south Louisiana who picks up a
contract. In the first place, they didn’t get any money, they got the promise
In the second place, they got a beat up old rusted car with an
expired inspection sticker, and they’re gonna get on the road and they’re going
to make it through all those speed traps in south Louisiana in I. ten, which is
not likely, they get pulled over and they have a three fifty-seven magnum
pistol laying on the seat of their car.
They’ve got a prison number so they’re going
back to Angola Prison for the next twenty years because of the goddamn gun.” I
said, Even if they make it to the Texas border, they’re going to see a sign
that says Vidor, Texas. They’re gonna pull off there and go to the first bar to
brag about the contract.
They’ll get drunk and they’ll never find Houston. The
officer said, “Well, there’s that.” Well, for the next three weeks my staff
lived on pins and needles around there but sure enough, nobody ever found us.
So I guess that’s what happened. The guy never made it past Vidor.
probably still in there drunk, telling, “I got this contract and when I get
around to it— “Have another drink!” Some people are just predictable by
behavior. And I enjoy giving the Angels a hard time. And I will not countenance
anybody saying anything pro-gang on my radio show.
It’s destructive of
convicts. I protect convicts better than that. I could bore you to death with
these stories for the rest of my life. And we may never run out of stories to
tell. I don’t know if you’re interested or not in the Paul Broussard story.
CHAMMAH: No, we’re
extremely interested in the Paul Broussard story. That’s certainly one we know
about but perhaps it will lead us into other things, so if you want to.
HILL: There is no investigation
in Paul Broussard’s death with the Houston Police Department because it was
never investigated. I was told the night I got there that—I came to the scene
after Paul had been beaten and stabbed because Steve Little, a person I knew in
the community called me and asked me to come over there and make the emergency
team, the guys on the ambulance, transport him to the emergency room.
been there an hour. And so I got a call about three o’clock, so apparently they
got there pretty quickly after he had been stabbed because you figure he was
stabbed at two, because Charles Armstrong closes his bar about a quarter till
two, and he’s cleaned out because he’s not going to lose his investment on some
after-hours liquor charge so everybody’s got to leave and Paul Broussard and
two of his friends couldn’t get to the bathroom,
it was too packed at last call
so they got in their car and they drove around to a parking lot nearby and they
got out of their car and they went into the parking lot to take a whiz. While
they were back there, a car drove up. Two cars drove up.
And someone in the car
said, “Where’s Heaven?” And Cary, who was with Paul that night said, “Oh, it’s
over there but there’s no sense in going, it’s already closed.” And then there
were some other words exchanged and the guys in the car piled out and started
fighting with Cary and Ricky, and Paul was way back in the back of the parking
Instead of getting out of the car and going to the bushes up near the
front of the barking lot like Ricky and Cary did, Paul went deep. So Cary and
Ricky got away from them and scampered away. While they chased Ricky and chased
Cary, a bunch of them chased Cary and at least one of them chased Ricky and
Paul came out of the parking lot not knowing anything about it and got in a
And he got beat up and stabbed. Now there’s a story about a board with
nails and all that, that’s all fiction. I got a copy of Paul Broussard’s
autopsy report in my files at home, and there’s no indication of any strikes
with boards with nails. Cary didn’t have any marks on him. Ricky didn’t have
any marks on him.
Ricky was able to get away. Apparently he was chased by one
of the assailants who would later turn out to be Gayland Randall. Gayland
Randall was the son of the assistant principal at the Woodlands high school,
McCullough High School in the Woodlands. And Cary was chased by several other
By the time I got there, I called first the dispatcher and told the
dispatcher that what was going on about the non-transportation and said, I’m
going there. Meet me there, let’s get this shit straightened out. But by the
time I got there, the dispatcher wasn’t there and the ambulance wasn’t there
and Paul was transported, I assume to Ben Taub Hospital, which is right up
It was Fourth of July morning about three o’clock, they transported
him about three o’clock because I got there about three ten. But they didn’t
take him to Ben Taub. They carried him to St. Joseph’s Hospital downtown, which
is not a class A emergency room, which did not have a doctor on duty, so Paul
Brossard was attacked and stabbed and had been bleeding internally from about
They did not take his vital signs until four fourty-seven. There’s
no vital signs on the ambulance. They didn’t want to touch him and the first
vital signs that were written down were in the emergency room at St. Joseph’s
Hospital, not when he got there, but when the doctor got there and ordered
So you’ve got two hours and forty five minutes of internal bleeding, and if
you hit a major artery, guess what? You’re dead. It’s too late. So also
participating in Paul’s death is the City of Houston and to a lesser degree the
emergency facility at St. Joseph’s Hospital. That doesn’t mean the knife wound
went away. It came from somebody.
Well it came from Jon Buice. How I solved the
case after the police told me, “We’re not going to solve it.” Well I---couldn’t
I—asked Sam Nuchia from Better Detectives, whatever the initial detective told
me they weren’t going to solve it and Sam, the Chief of Police in Houston, whom
I didn’t always get along, gave me the best he had.
He had two Greek bloodhounds, one by the name
of Abadondalo and one by the name of Vacarus. Abadondalo is still there and doing
the cold cases in Harris County. I mean the Houston City Police Department
Homicide Division. Vacarus was there for a while and went on to elsewhere, to
carry his professional recognition elsewhere.
So I put them on it and Vacarus
called me and said, “Mister Hill, we’re not going anywhere.” I said, Look, out
got two eyewitnesses. Don’t hand me that crap. This is a gay-bashing killing
and I want an investigation and I want you to solve this case.
He said, “Well,
look” he said, “The witnesses, one of them says, ‘The assailants were Black.'
And the other one says, 'No they weren’t Black, they were Hispanic or white.’”
“And the description of the car they were in, and there may have been two cars,
but the car that everybody describes is shiny. It’s—everybody agrees it’s
shiny, not white, not black, not blue, not silver, shiny.”
So I don’t have
anything to investigate. And I said, Hang on to your badges, because I’m going
to solve this case. So what I did was I went to Queen Nation which is an
activist in Houston at the time and I put four thousand people at the corner of
Westheimer and Montrose at exactly ten o’clock the night Friday night.
put the word out to all televisions sets—television stations, “If you’re here
with your truck, first, you get the first slot, second, you get the second slot.”
So there they were, all the network stations were lined up with their remote
trucks at the corner at exactly ten o’clock after they did the, “This is the
eye-witness news, local news at two” And everything else they said.
to straight to Montrose and Westheimer covering the story. They said we were
the lead story on all three network televisions because I set it up that way.
My deal with the police, I was dealing with Captain, Captain Dale Brown. He
said, “Well when do you want me to start directing traffic around the
I said, I don’t want you to direct traffic around the
demonstration. I want angry people cussing at us through the windows of their
cars caught at that intersection. He said, “You do?” I said, It makes a better
story. See, the whole idea is how to use the media, how to maximize the impact
Well, we moved from the back pages of the Houston Post
only to the front page of the Houston Chronicle. The lead story
that night, and then I worked with the media to keep it at that level for two
weeks. We even had Ted Koppel down here and C.B.S. Evening news sent a news
crew down here to cover it.
We covered it like a wet blanket. We had a
different angle every night, the whole nine yards and two weeks later a female
student walked up to an openly gay professor at the University of Houston and
said, “Dr. Reinhardt, I know one of the guys that killed that banker.” That was
He was living with his grandmother in Manhattan at the time.
All that news media, he could afford to get out of town until it cooled off and
he was in Manhattan. We found him. We arrested him and I made Vacarus go get
him. He didn’t want to. He told me he didn’t have a budget. I said, Don’t
The mayor will sign the check. You just go get him. That’s where I want
the names of who was with him that night. So the plane lands and there are nine
other names. The Woodlands Ten. Got the image? Rich, spoiled kids coming down
bashing gays, Fourth of July weekend. It’s all imagery. But we had ten people
arrested, ten people charged.
I set the rules, except for my informant,
everybody that touched Paul Broussard goes to prison. My informant and
everybody that was along for the ride gets probation. So five went to prison,
five got probation. Two including my informant violated probation, so wound up
seven going to prison and three surviving their probation years.
So I thought,
Well, if these guys were gay bashers and this is prejudice-motivated, somebody
needs to work on their prejudice. Well what’s going on in Texas prison to do
that? Nothing. Texas prisons—I mean very racist, sexist, homophobic place. I
know, I’ve been there. And so I decided that was my job.
So I go on the radio
and I talk into the microphone, and I say, “I want this guy Jon Buice to write
me.” And so friends of mine who listen to me on the unit went to Jon and said,
“A friend of ours wants you to write him.” “Who’s that?” “Well, that’s Ray
Hill.” “Well that son-of-a-bitch sent me to prison. Why the hell would I want
to write him?”
“No, no, you got Ray wrong. When you went down messing with the
gay community he had to protect his community, but now that you’re a convict,
you’re in his group. He’s on our side. Nobody else is.” So finally I got a
letter from Jon. I didn’t write him until I got a letter from him.
“What do you want?” And I said, Well, in the first place, you’re eighteen years
old now. You’re looking down a long-range barrel at a forty-five-year sentence
and I thought you might want some helpful hints, somebody that understands how
to do time, how to make the best of it. You’ll get out some day. And I thought
I’d do that.
And so we corresponded for a while until he got over his fears and
he put me on his visiting list—I visited him a couple of times as media. But
after a while I got on his visiting list and become part of like his family. I
met his family. I told him how to do time. I told him how to get to college and
encouraged him to do that. We became friends.
We’re friends to this day. And if
you want to see that story as depicted by Logo Television Network, just go to
their website, Logo and Google my name, it will pop right up. But—Jon—or you
can go to my website, I’ve got it stored somewhere on my website. But Jon and I
are friends and I will be with him when he gets out of prison.
He’s going to
take my place on the radio show. That’s ultimately going to happen, but what
did I learn from all of that? In the first place, I learned that four of the
assailants that night were gay. Not closeted gay but known by the rest of them
to be gay.
And the party that they started in the Woodlands was called to cheer
up Chance Dillon, who had just broken up in a relationship with an older gay
man in Dallas and an ugly separation and he had the blues. And so they threw a
party to cheer him up.
Unfortunately somebody brought an awful lot of drugs,
and somebody brought an awful lot of alcohol, and they were kids without the
maturity to handle all that, and that’s what happened. It wasn’t a gay-straight
thing. It was a drug and alcohol and youth stupidity thing.
But in a period of
time that could not have exceeded a minute and a half, one person lost their
life, two people continued living with the horror memory of that night and post
traumatic depression, and ten others destroyed their lives. We as a society
cannot afford many such minutes.
We as a society need to teach principles of
understanding, acceptance, maturity, the evils of chemistry, better lives
through chemistry is not a reality, it’s not even a good myth and we need to
know what those things do to kids those age. All of this wouldn’t have happened
if anybody had said, “Wait a minute. This is wrong.”
One person in the whole
scenario said, “Wait a minute. This is not a good idea.” But nobody said that. Do
you have any idea how many thousands of people—when I started doing the prison
show there was about twenty-one or twenty-two thousand inmates total in Texas.
There are one hundred and fifty thousand now.
This is the most incarcerating
nation in the history of the world and I could justify it if it were working.
But it doesn’t work. I mean, when do you reach the point where somebody says,
Wait a minute. Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. This doesn’t work. We need to come up
with another plan. We need to come up with another plan.
And the plan doesn’t
start with: What do we do with this person that’s violated the law? The plan
starts before the violation in the first place. And I think a lot of that is
economic. I think a lot of that comes out of the tension between the races.
think a lot of alienation comes about because some people don’t feel that they
are welcome as a part of the overall society, so they’re basically outsiders,
so they have a license to misbehave. I know what that feels like. I’m queer,
you know. So there was a time when I didn’t belong.
Of course all of that
changes when your puppy is elected mayor and all of that changes when another
politician out of your stable is the high sheriff. I feel like I belong a lot.
And I notice people are listening to what I have to say when there was a time
when I could just say forever and nobody heard a word or paid any attention to
I know I keep convicts from stewing in the guilt they feel on what I call
the cusp of awakening. In the morning when it’s time to go to breakfast,
convicts are going to wake up in prisons all over this state. There are 108
prisons in this state that belong to the State of Texas and others that belong
to the federal government.
We’ve actually got more Hawaiian prisoners in Texas
than they have in Hawaii. It’s a lot more expensive in Hawaii. But they’re
going to wake up and before they have control of their mind, it’s going to go
back to what guilty S.O.B.’s they are or what they did to their victims, what
they’re doing to their families and this mess that they are in, which is their
responsibility. They live in that guilt.
They stew in that guilt. That guilt is
part of the very marrow of their bones. And until we can figure out how to get
them to change the subject, think differently about who they are, realize that
the clock only goes one direction and we can’t go back and undo the damn-fool
things that you have done.
But most of those people are in there for bad
decision they made when they had seconds to decide. Seconds. And we need to
slow down time so they can make better decisions in those immediate situations
and who they are will have a bigger effect than that.
We need to give inmates
an opportunity to serve a larger purpose than themselves. And it’s really easy
to sit in those cells and say, “Oh, poor me. Look how everybody’s mistreating
you.” They’re not victims at all, but they don’t know that because they don’t
have any opportunity to be anything else.
Nobody is going to remember me at all
for what I did for myself. They’re only going to remember for what I might have
done for somebody else. That’s the way the world works. But you don’t hear that
in everyday discourse. If you are to survive, life is service. A little fellow
by the name of Mahatma Gandhi taught me that when I was a child.
My mother gave
me a biography that was written while he was still alive and that was before he
became sanctified. Terrible things happen when you die. They make saints out of
you and you’re untouchable and unreachable. But something written while he was
alive is a little more human.
And the man had some good ideas. I am the one
queer ex-convict you will meet in your lifetime who grew up to be who his
mother wanted him to be. And I’m proud of that.
Ray Hill is a prison activist and queer activist as well as the founder of The Prison Show, a radio program that has aired weekly on Houston's Pacifica radio station KPFT 90.1 FM since March 1980. In Video 1, Hill shares the inspiration for his early activism; his experiences during his incarceration in the Texas prison system; and his work as a community organizer. Hill describes how he helped to organize the Houston Gay Caucus, now known as the Houston Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Political Caucus, as well as his role in founding The Kaposi's Sarcoma Committee, which later became The KS/AIDS Foundation and is now The AIDS Foundation Houston. At the end of Video 1 and the beginning of Video 2, Hill discusses the origins of The Prison Show; his activism in prison reform, including his role in the creation of the program Gang Rejection and Disassociation (GRAD); and his perceptions of the criminal justice system. This interview took place on October 5th, 2010 at the offices of KPFT FM in Houston, Harris County, Texas.
3 of 3
Ray HillRole: Narrator
Texas After Violence ProjectRole: Collaborator
Maurice ChammahRole: Interviewer
Kimberly Ambrosini-BaconRole: Videographer
Nancy Semin LingoRole: Transcriber
Maurice ChammahRole: Proofreader
Type of Resource:
This electronic resource is made available by the University of Texas Libraries solely for the purposes of research, teaching and private study. All intellectual property rights are retained by the legal copyright holders. The University of Texas does not hold the copyright to the content of this file. Formal permission to reuse or republish this content must be obtained from the copyright holder.