The day itself isn’t easy, and neither are the questions that come along with it. But still Loretta Filipov keeps moving forward.
It’s been 12 years since she lost her husband and 11 since Loretta, along with a community that loves her, launched the Al Filipov Peace & Justice Forum in remembrance of her beloved, who lost his life on Sept. 11, 2001.
“When we started this, I knew I didn’t want a marble statue or a step,” Loretta said earlier this week, while taking a break from hanging a window display at the Concord Bookshop. “Somehow, this came out in all of our talk about talking about what to do. ... But look at what we’re brining to the community – the education and the ideas. I think it’s a gift to the community.”
Founded following his death on Sept. 11, 2001, the Al Filipov Peace & Justice Forum promotes peace and justice among all people, and to demonstrate the power of an individual to make a positive difference in the world.
This year’s forum, to be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, will honor Arizona journalist Margaret Regan as its speaker and recipient of the 2013 Al Filipov Peace & Justice award. Regan is being honored for her work reporting on the deaths of migrants along the US-Mexico border, including her 2010 book, “The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands.”
“Immigration is an interesting issue, and I don’t think we know the answer,” said Filipov. “It’s an interesting one, I think. And, sometimes, I think we’re preaching to the choir, but if we reach even three people, and if they learn something or develop an idea or take action, then we’ve done our job.”
Doing a job is an action easily dismissed as impersonal, but there’s no reason to consider that the case here.
Consider: Today is Sept. 11, 2013 and, as recently as Monday, Loretta Filipov didn’t know how she’d be spending the day. And that's not because the day doesn’t matter, but rather because, for her, the titles mother, grandmother and event organizer coexist along with widow. As recently as Monday, Filipov thought she might make it to the beach today, along with her grandchildren.
She’ll be the first one to (jokingly) write herself off as “old and haggard,” but Loretta Filipov is bustling around and busy as anyone these days.
Like earlier this week, for instance, she had multiple interviews set up and was overseeing a Concord Center display – all in the same six-hour stretch on a Monday. And that’s not even getting into her other engagements.
It’s not that Sept. 11, 2001 and the loss of her husband aren’t fresh in mind, but Loretta Filipov has decided to remember her husband in a way that will honor him for their children, their grandchildren and the generations to come.
“It’s all about justice, social justice,” said Filipov of the forum. “It’s just peace and justice.”
While pounding the pavement for this year’s Peace & Justice Forum, Filipov explained that her team, which has kept some members even as it evolved over the years, compiles lists of candidates using “hot” topics and socially conscious magazines. The idea, she said is to bypass partisanship and focus on social justice.
“I know Al would be proud,” Filipov said Monday. “He’d say, ‘Keep going, Loretta.’”
Knowing Loretta Filipov even a little bit, it's hard not to think she’ll heed that advice.