By Joseph T. O’Connor Explore Big Sky Senior Editor

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Monday, Jan. 20, the nation – indeed the world – will reflect on the life and influence of Martin Luther King Jr., as America observes the federal holiday signed into law in 1983.

It’s a day to recognize King’s birthday, officially Jan. 15, and to consider a man who changed the national consciousness. He led the Civil Rights Movement and taught a country the importance of nonviolent civil disobedience in the vein of Mahatma Ghandi’s lessons. He championed altruism.

It’s one of the most important holidays in the American tradition, something reinforced on August 23, 1994, when President Bill Clinton signed into law the King Holiday and Service Act.

The legislation urges Americans to practice this altruism by volunteering service through citizen action, in King’s honor.

Seek out the array of organizations that dedicate their focus to education, food insecurity, public recreation and backcountry rescue, among others. We hope you will be inspired to give time volunteering for a cause that matters to you on Jan. 20.

Dream for a better place.

To listen to Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech, click here.