Life Is Now a Game of Risk. Here’s How Your Brain Is Processing It.
Americans are faced with more risk than ever. Understanding how the brain navigates this new reality can build confidence and empathy in everyday decision-making.
When people everywhere took to the streets in early June after Minneapolis police officers murdered George Floyd, Linda Rambert told her friends to stay home.
As a Black woman, and a long-time racial justice activist, the pandemic of systemic racism and police brutality wasn’t new to her. But as the only daughter of a nurse, she also understood the severity of the novel coronavirus and was doing everything she could to protect herself from it — staying home except to go to the grocery store or exercise, wiping down every surface she came into contact with, and urging her friends to do the same.
“I didn’t want to risk myself going out there, and one, becoming a carrier… or catching it and having to go through the quarantine process,” Rambert says. “It was something I was conversating [about] with my friends of all backgrounds, day after day, ‘Hey guys, be safe, be smart. Do what we can from home.’ I was sending text messages, I was sending emails to different city officials, trying to do my part.”
But soon Rambert began to feel like it wasn’t enough. And when the charges against Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, were upgraded from third-degree to second-degree murder, Rambert worried that people would think the job was done and the movement would lose momentum. So she decided to take to the streets.
“I find myself doing crazy things [for the coronavirus], and so I’m like, why not do the same for a fight that impacts me more?” Rambert says. “I can’t sit back and watch anymore because I don’t know how far we will advance if we continue to be quiet.”
Rambert and her girlfriend scrawled “Enough is Enough” and “I Can’t Breathe” on the backs of old Amazon boxes and stepped out into the Miami heat. They joined three other protestors and started walking. An hour later, they were 15 people strong. By three hours in, there were over 100 of them marching together.