The National Press Club announced today that Houston will serve as the host city of this year’s national Night Out For Austin Tice, set for Wednesday, April 29, 2020. “We expect that dozens of restaurants in Houston and across the country will open their doors April 29 to customers who want to learn more about Austin’s case and raise money to support his safe return,” said Naomi Tice, Austin’s sister.
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.
This year, Urban Harvest – a nonprofit leading Houston’s local food movement – is leveraging its network of chefs, farmers, and restaurateurs on April 29 to raise awareness for Austin Tice. Urban Harvest will connect local restaurants and chefs to Houstonians citywide who are looking to dine out with a purpose.
Chris Shepherd – the James Beard Award-winning chef behind Underbelly Hospitality in Houston – was one of the principal drivers of Night Out’s success in 2019. He first learned about Night Out from some of his regular guests, and after researching Austin’s story and meeting Austin’s parents Marc and Debra Tice, Shepherd knew he had to be a part of the effort to bring Austin home. “First, it is important that we take care of our own – and Austin is a Houstonian,” said Shepherd. “Second, freedom of the press is incredibly important. You can’t put a price on credible journalism, especially in today’s world. I am proud to support Austin and his family, as well as journalists who risk everything to report the truth.”
The co-chairs for this year’s Night Out will be three of Austin’s siblings: Naomi Tice, Meagan Malone, and Jacob Tice. “We participated last year and really felt great about doing something that was tangible and positive to help our brother,” said Malone. “He is in danger and he needs all our help – if you own a restaurant, or have a friend who does, please encourage them to go to NightOutForAustin.com and sign up. Our goal is not only to have as many Houston restaurants as possible participating – but also to have at least one restaurant in all 50 states,” she said. “With your help we can do it! And together we can bring him home,” said Malone.
Restaurants can register to become an official restaurant partner of this year’s Night Out at NightOutForAustin.com. Participating restaurants can choose to either make a one-time donation upfront or pledge a percentage of their revenue from their April 29 dinner service. All proceeds raised will go to the National Press Club’s non-profit affiliate, The National Press Club Journalism Institute (a 501-c3), where it will be held for further instruction from the FBI.
Press Contact: Lindsay Underwood for the National Press Club; firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 662-7561