Washington, June 30 – The National Press Club (NPC) announced today that this year's national Night Out For Austin Tice, originally set for July 14, will be postponed until further notice amid concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While restaurants in many parts of the country are opening back up, it is still early and challenging to try to have a special event like Night Out For Austin Tice,” said Bill McCarren, Executive Director of the National Press Club. “We manage a couple of restaurants ourselves and while we could host the event now, we believe we will be in a better position to host a successful event for Austin later this year. We know our restaurant partners are in the same boat, and we want to make sure that Night Out is a safe and positive experience for everyone involved,” he said.
The decision to postpone Night Out was also largely influenced by the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Houston – Austin’s hometown, and one of the biggest markets for Night Out events in 2019. On Monday officials in Harris County and across the state called on Gov. Greg Abbott to roll back business reopenings and give local leaders the authority to reinstate stay-at-home orders in their communities.
“Austin’s case is at a crucial stage, and we would like to be engaging with Americans about it right now, but our restaurant partners and our friends in Houston need more time,” said McCarren.
Austin Tice, an award-winning journalist, was working for McClatchy and The Washington Post when he was detained in Syria in 2012. Austin is a Georgetown University graduate, a native Houstonian, and a United States Marine who served three tours of duty. Today, he is currently the only U.S. journalist being held overseas, and after more than seven years, has endured the longest detention of any U.S. journalist to date.
The inaugural Night Out for Austin Tice held on May 2, 2019, drew support from 80 restaurants in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Thousands of people who went out to eat that night learned about Austin's case, and millions more read about him in newspaper ads, articles and op-eds, and listened to the Tices tell their story in dozens of radio and television interviews. In addition to raising awareness, last year's Night Out raised more than $60,000 to supplement the FBI's $1M reward fund for information leading to Austin's safe return and generated new leads to the FBI.
Press Contact: Lindsay Underwood for the National Press Club; firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 662-7561
SOURCE National Press Club