Stacey Patton’s incisive essay for Dame Magazine explains why America has betrayed Dr. King’s dream.

It’s been over 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and as we’ve been reminded over and over again, that dream is far from being realized.

From Michael Brown to Eric Garner—and too many names to recount that came before and have since followed—we are continually reminded that the nightmares of American racism have never gone away. And that Dr. King’s words resonate even louder today, especially those words that will be forgotten as our nation pauses to commemorate his legacy: 

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society,” King said in a 1967 speech. “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

This past summer we saw what happened when we failed to heed Dr. King’s warnings, to make the necessary changes, with tanks and military-grade weaponry, the continued building of prisons across the nation—which are more common than job-training programs and educational opportunities for all children—to the entrenched realities of America’s war on terror. 

Read more at Dame.