Trinity United Church of Christ is located on the South Side of Chicago, a congregation of around 10,000. Most associate the church with Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s former Pastor. During the 2008 election season, Rev. Wright was widely criticized for many of his sermons, which promoted Black pride and spoke forcefully against injustice. Today Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III serves as Trinity’s Senior Pastor and this past Sunday, the church made a huge move to support Black business. As part of its initiative to highlight Black businesses and banking, the church spotlighted True Laundry Detergent and encouraged its 10,000 members to support the company — directly after Sunday services! Parishioners bought over 200 bottles, in less than three hours.
Trinity is a very different type of church. The church is committed to the “Black Value System” and begins each service by affirming that they are “Unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian.” Only at such a church would you find announcements that literally serve as endorsements for Black owned businesses — which actually happened this past Sunday.
But that commitment to the Black community is rooted in necessity. Since stats have been recorded, Black unemployment has always been twice that of whites — in Chicago it’s more like three times. Pastor Moss and the leaders at Trinity, understanding this need, have chosen to use their platform to do more than send thoughts and prayers — they are taking action and voting for change with their dollars.
After encouraging the congregation to support True Laundry Detergent, parishioners were given the opportunity to make purchases after the 7:30 and 11:00 services. Despite having three separate cash registers to process transactions, church members were still forced to wait in lines for several minutes to make purchases. In total, 202 bottles were sold this past Sunday, in less than three hours! Further, the church has invited True Detergent back this coming Sunday to be spotlighted again. Due to the great success of this past Sunday, the church’s Akiba Bookstore, in partnership with Afriware Books, will stock True Detergent going forward.
Faith congregations have always been important in the Black community. From politics to food programs, they have served as critical centers of information and distribution. In today’s world where we have severe shortages of Black owned retail spaces, congregations can bridge that gap between Black entrepreneurs and customers. Trinity United Church of Christ is demonstrating that possibility and serves as a fine model of what can happen in Black faith communities. We Buy Black salutes the impact this congregation is having on its community.