The Trident Family: Houston’s New Powerhouse Creating Opportunities for Communities of Color

What is social enterprise? A business striving to magnify profits that will be reinvested back into their mission of bringing about change and positive development in their community. The Trident Family aligns different profit and nonprofit entities in order to achieve its mission of creating and controlling wealth in the black community. 

The Trident Family is a collective of four individuals (Dieter Cantu, Ed Jointer, Jawon Scott, and Mike the Moor) dedicated to community advancement and self-liberation. “I act3ually came up with the name after starting an alkaline water company,” Dieter Cantu states. “I thought to myself, what’s a powerful figure that has something to do with water, Poseidon. Then Poseidon led to trident, and here we are. A trident is a spear that Poseidon would strike on the ocean floor to create waves and storms. We create the next wave, we create what’s cool and when the tides shift, we definitely kept calm through the storm” he jokes.

He and a group of his friends have created a social enterprise alliance of nonprofit and for-profit entities, dedicating to addressing basic unmet needs and solving environmental problems. They consider themselves to be change agents dedicated to finding what is not working and solving the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to move in different directions. 

Their nonprofit initiatives include community gardens, literacy programs for incarcerated youth, and housing for the homeless. Through their nonprofit work, individuals and communities are provided with resources to meet their needs, that all humans should have access to, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and shelter. Furthermore, they push for cognitive advancement and personal growth by providing literacy programs to educate and expand the minds of those in the community.

Their for-profit initiatives include a used car dealership and a law firm. Jawon Scott , owner of GTMG Auto Sales met Dieter in undergrad and adds to the company with nonprofit endeavors such as a yearly car giveaway to help single mothers. Having an auction license and a vision to help those who can’t afford reliable transportation, he became an asset to the company in various ways with long term friendship.

Dieter states that he wanted to educate his community while simultaneously creating change through innovation, creativity, and self-sufficiency through black ownership. Ed Jointer, a Chicago native and founding member of the Trident Family, has been hosting Know Your Rights Workshops offering record expungement services, open carry laws, and traffic stop protocol. 

Adequate legal defense begins with empathy and compassion. We come from the streets therefore,  we know the stories, the struggles, and the system- our experiences have best prepared us to fight it. – Attorney Ed Jointer, ESQ.

Motivated by poverty and a passion for creating sustainable change, these brothers are the prime example of what investing in one another looks like. During a time where COVID 19 has our communities in a state of panic and fear, we can’t wait on racial equity or the government to advocate for us. We have to advocate for one another.