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Angel: Stay close while maintaining distance

Braden Angel
Valley Voices

Social distancing saves lives, yet an emotional connection is more important than ever and is crucial to community safety.

Humans are social creatures and we are innately wired for connection. Evolutionary scientists identify our need for social connection as a crucial survival skill. In animals, social connection is often viewed as the ability to care for offspring and to organize into groups for feeding or protection purposes.

Scientists have even suggested that modern human behavior, such as social media use, can serve in an important evolutionary role, as an increased social connection has been linked with increased survival rates due to sharing vital passed knowledge (proper preventative health measures or how to treat illness/injury) leading to increased longevity.

As an attorney, I recognize the immediate importance of emotional connection in our mountain communities. We are experiencing a unique, collective event that challenges a basic evolutionary drive. However, the importance of connection goes beyond our ability to be resilient within the current state of adversity. Emotional connection is also a critical protective factor for our future and the long-term safety of our community.

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There is substantial overlap between a community’s overall state of public health and a community’s level of safety. Social determinants of health, such as community connection, social support, and access to health and behavioral health care, and the lack thereof, have been linked with root causes of crime and public safety.

As an attorney, I strive to work to create a community context that enhances public health and our community’s well-being, which will consequently create a more safe and resilient community. One way to change our current context is to focus on creating connections while maintaining a physical distance. Many attorneys have transitioned to telephone and video conferencing for meetings and conferences. This enables us to offer critical legal services to our community, without compromising public health and safety.

Organizations across our community are also working actively to create and maintain our community connections. Workout facilities are directly streaming to the community’s living room. Teachers are bringing their classroom community to students’ homes. My 5-year-old daughter is even twirling with her ballet friends via online platforms. These connections are powerful. They are important and can change someone’s day, someone’s week, but can also have a ripple effect that can protectively impact our future. Thank you to all our community organizations that are focused on maintaining our sense of community and, of course, to those leading the fight in our medical community.

Braden Angel is owner of the Angel Law Firm of Colorado, LLC, and President of the Continental Divide Bar Association. Mr. Angel is running for District Attorney of the 5th Judicial District. For more information visit http://www.angelfordistrictattorney.com.


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