Documentary to kick off ethics center's spring series

Contact: Mark Schwerin
Photo of Michael Wilder, Jennifer Machiolatti and Yafinceio Harris.

From left: Wilder, Machiorlatti and Harris

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The screening of a documentary about the turnaround of two former feuding drug dealers from Kalamazoo will launch the spring 2016 series of events sponsored by the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society.

The short documentary "Peace During War," profiling the lives of Michael Wilder and Yafinceio Harris, will be shown at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan 27, in 3508 Knauss Hall. Titled "The Ethics of Forgiveness," the presentation is free and open to the public and will feature a discussion with Wilder and Harris, as well as Dr. Jennifer Machiorlatti, WMU professor of communication and producer and director of the film.

'Blood feud'

Wilder and Harris let go of their blood feud after serving time in prison and meeting again in college. Taking up Martin Luther King Jr.'s themes of forgiveness and nonviolence in the context of urban poverty and crime, they now serve as role models for local youth through the Peace During War Project.

Yafinceio "Big B" Harris and Michael "Too Short" Wilder were once on opposite sides of a street feud stemming from the shooting death of Harris' cousin by Wilder's friend. In the film, they share how, after encountering one another in a community college classroom, they turned their lives around and co-founded Peace During War, the Kalamazoo-based youth mentoring program that diverts youths from paths leading to prison or death.

The 16-minute film was shot with the help of 15 students and had its world premiere in June 2014 at the Waterfront Film Festival in South Haven.

The event is co-sponsored by the School of Communication.

Upcoming events

The dates, presentations, times and locations of other upcoming Ethics Center events include:

  • Feb. 24-25: One-act play "Divorce (Professional)," performances at 4 p.m., Feb. 24, and 6 p.m., Feb. 25, WMU Center for the Humanities, 2500 Knauss Hall.
  • March 22: "Student Leadership in Academic Integrity," Ceceilia Parnther, doctoral candidate in the WMU Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology, 4 p.m., Brown and Gold Room, Bernhard Center.
  • April 12: "The Bio-political Fragmentation of Life: Lessons Still to Learn a Decade after Schiavo," Dr. Tyler Gibb, assistant professor in the Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities and Law, WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, 7 p.m., Brown and Gold Room, Bernhard Center.
  • April 15: "Again Toward Perpetual Peace: World of Government by Lottocracy," Winnie Veenstra Peace Lecture with Dr. Alex Guerrero, assistant professor of philosophy, University of Pennsylvania, 6 p.m., Brown and Gold Room, Bernhard Center.

For more information, contact Dr. Sandra Borden at, Dr. Michael Pritchard at or visit

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