Former Mayor Arredia is always a captivating speaker, but never more so than when he talks protecting the community he loves. "Just because you don't see the gangs in Des Plaines," he warns, "Doesn't mean they aren't here."  Tony talked about everything a gang can offer a kid at loose ends: family, respect, a lavish lifestyle. Once they're in, the kids OWE the gang, and it becomes practically impossible to get out. Of course, this life manufactures and feeds off violence, but also disrespect for women, for family.

How can we work against the "underground" gangs? Tony reminded us of all the ways to act. "Get to know your neighbors, keep an eye on community spaces like parks, say hello to the kids on your street, get involved in churches, social groups, the library." And most important, speak up when you see something that isn't right.