Gayland grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina where he learned community organizing from his mother at an early age, as he accompanied her throughout the community to register voters and encourage them to get out and vote. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Recreational Administration at North Carolina A&T and his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Gayland has many accomplishments as an organizer in his community. As a student volunteer at the local NAACP branch in Greensboro, he had the honor of registering over 700 student voters. He is founder of the first urban farm in Greensboro and his non-profit organization, Economic Development Growth Enterprise (EDGE), was awarded with 3.8 acres of land to start a much-needed program. The urban garden allowed fresh fruits and vegetables to be grown year-round. To date that land continues to yield fresh fruit and vegetables, to assist in combatting the food insecurity in what might be considered a food desert.
After becoming a member of the Second Chance Alliance Organization, Gayland organized and implemented an expungement clinic. With over 1,000 ex-offenders in attendance, this clinic lead to more than 700 participants’ records being expunged. Many of these ex-offenders were then able to find work. Since that time, he has guided more than 1,000 other ex-offenders through the expungement process.
“I like the fact that Virginia Organizing is an organization that develops leaders to make necessary changes for the betterment of our communities,” Gayland says. He is excited to use his skills and passion to be a part of the social justice movement in Southside Virginia.