By Scott Nolen
OSI mourns the loss of William Miller, Sr., a founding member of longtime OSI partner Bmore POWER and a champion of Baltimore’s peer-led harm reduction movement.
I attended last week’s vigil to be in community with those who have also been profoundly impacted by Mr. Miller, Sr.’s voice, his presence, and his life. (Mr. Miller, Sr. was often known as “Senior” to differentiate him from his son, who is also a harm reduction advocate.) It was a bittersweet comfort to see dozens of family, friends, advocates, activists and community members gathering to recognize the significance of our loss, but more importantly, the amazing commitment to his community that drove Mr. Miller, Sr. to speak out against the oppression of communities across Baltimore under the guise of public safety or public health.
Mr. Miller, Sr. carried himself with a quiet confidence that permeated any room that he entered. It was par for the course to see Mr. Miller, Sr. in a room full of passionate individuals advocating their position on how to address complicated systematic issues. Without fail, during such conversations, Mr. Miller, Sr., in his unassuming way, would sit up in his seat (his cue that he had something to say) and use his platform to bring clarity to the need to support, respect, and show love to all people, and particularly to those who use drugs.
In his soft spoken, no-nonsense manner, Mr. Miller, Sr. commanded the respect of those around him. For those of us who had the pleasure to get to know him, we will always remember his sly sense of humor, his unabashed candor, and his ability to keep those qualities during the toughest of times. His death is a tough blow for the communities that he so greatly impacted, but his memory is the inspiration that will help us all finish the work that he started.
Rest in Peace William Glen Miller Sr.
Scott Nolen is the Director of OSI’s Addiction and Health Equity Program.