Meet Our Team

Bernadette Lark (BJ)
Program Organizer

BJ, a passionate community servant with the ability to motivate and inspire individuals to positive change in communities. She takes pride in engaging in a civically based approached to community building and draws on personal and professional experiences to fuel her commitment to life-long service. A South Carolina native and daughter of a Pastor and Missionary, she is familiar with a "striving through service"  and advancing causes built on a strong foundation of love, faith, hard work, dedication, and moral values. These attributes naturally inspire BJ  to remain a proactive voice in support of those silenced,  and a beacon of light to restore hope. BJ's primary focus through the Democracy Center is to create and promote a safe and inclusive community empowered by the exercise of our rights and respectful of diversity in every form imaginable. BJ is a well known music director, education, and musician across southwest Virginia, a previous Board Member at several local nonprofits, and a member of ARTivism Virginia.

Rev. David Denham 
Non-Profit Leader - Tree of Life Church Pastor

Rev. Denham is a United Church of Christ (UCC) minister.  The inspiration for his call to ministry was the justice and witness presence of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  The center of his ministry has been bringing God’s justice to the communities where he has lived, to our country, and the world. He has lived that calling everyday through his ministry, over the years leading  a local community to organize and resist local Ku Klux Klan, creating welcoming sanctuaries for the LGBTQ+ community, cofounding the UCC Central Atlantic Conference’s Task Force on Issues of Disability and Accessibility. Rev. Denham also leads Represent US Virginia, part of a national network addressing voting rights, big money in politics, and gerrymandering.  He and his wife were arrested twice along with 1400 others in April 2017 sitting on the D.C. Capitol steps on behalf of voting rights and campaign finance reform. Rev. Denham’s email address contains “RevBaseball.”  The Baltimore Orioles have been his lifelong team. The racial mix in baseball has always been a draw for his attention and he cherishes that Jackie Robinson was a member of the UCC when he entered the Hall of Fame.