Marin Residents Show Support for Health Care Workers by Making their Voices Heard

The new coronavirus is causing people around the world to speak out in novel ways. Here in Marin things took a wilder turn when Mill Valley residents decided to howl in support of health care workers. The ritual has since spread around the county, and howls can be heard just about anywhere in Marin at 8 p.m. every night of the week.

“My mother, Alice Long, turned 96 on April 1, and we reached out to the community, asking everyone to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her, after that night’s howl,” says Mill Valley resident Anni Long. “Everyone joined in, she blew out her birthday cake candles, and you could hear the voices throughout Cascade Canyon and up the ridge. The smile on her face lit up the dark.”

Alice Long on her 96th birthday howl.

Tim Hyer’s family of six have also taken a lot of joy in the new custom. “The seminary bells in San Anselmo can be heard from our house as they ring eight times, and then the howling begins,” says Hyer.

Tim Hyer’s family joining in the howl.

Hugh Kuhn helped to start the howl movement in his Mill Valley hometown. “We’re in this together, but we’re apart,” he says. “People can be half a mile away and I can’t see them, but I can hear them.”

Hugh had read about what people were doing in Europe, and him and his neighbors were out and started cheering in the street one night, and he decided to howl. After that he posted a message on Nextdoor about doing an 8pm howl that would last 5 minutes.
“For me the howl accomplishes three things. Most importantly, it’s an acknowledgement for the health care workers on the front lines, as well as the grocery clerks. Secondly, it’s compassion for those impacted. And it’s also a connection for everyone.”

Here are a few more pictures of howls to check out:


Rory and Declan Murphy howling.

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Kasia Pawlowska

Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is never-ending.