Leigh Anne Tuohy
encourages giving to others at education conference
July 16, 2015
Leigh Anne Tuohy, popularly portrayed by Sandra Bullock in the movie, “The Blind Side,” retold her story of inviting a homeless young man into her home at Black Expo’s Education Conference.
Best known for bringing the once impoverished Michael Oher into her home, the adopted-mother of the now NFL player was scheduled to discuss the opportunities education offers for Oher and other underprivileged children like him. However, Tuohy used her time on stage to reflect on her experience as an adoptive mother.
“I thank God that [my family] was blessed with Michael,” she said. “Bringing him into our home was 100 percent a God plan, an opportunity for a true act of kindness.”
The Conference event, held at the Indiana Convention Center, was primarily attended by members of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and Cummins Inc., an Indiana-based manufacturing company.
With a clear intent to advocate the importance of giving to others, Tuohy stressed to those in attendance that, “it doesn’t matter what the color of someone’s skin is.”
At one point during the speech she passionately yelled into the microphone that society deemed Oher “100 percent valueless” until her family was able to give him new opportunities.
“God used our story to send a message, and that message is that all a struggling child needs is a chance — just one chance,” Tuohy said.
When discussing how the public’s response to her story has not always been positive, Tuohy vehemently defended her family’s decision to bring Oher into their home, despite backlash from critics.
“I didn’t bring a large black boy into my home because I had a some sort of fantasy of raising a football superstar,” Tuohy said. “All we did was turn our car around and offer [Oher] hope and love and opportunity.”
Tuohy says acts of kindness are not just for wealthy white families and “every single person...was born to make a difference in someone’s life.”
“Can we imagine who gets left behind,” Tuohy asked. “It’s whoever we allow ourselves to ignore, to walk away from or to forget about.”
With a tearful close, Tuohy left the audience with a mission.
“All it takes is one simple act of kindness,” Tuohy said. “Look around. Sometimes we miss what’s right in front of our nose.”