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Meet Lisa Forbes

Lisa is a passionate trauma-informed wellness speaker and author who is on a mission to empower restored citizens, military families, and PTSD survivors to break the cycle of trauma, poverty, and violence. With a personal background in trauma and resilience, Lisa's message is deeply rooted in her own experiences and grounded in practical, solution-oriented strategies.

As a restored citizen herself, Lisa understands the impact of childhood trauma and poverty linking to cycles of violence and incarceration. Through her work, she aims to break these intergenerational patterns and inspire individuals to reclaim their power and create a life free from the limitations of trauma.

But Lisa's message goes beyond personal trauma, as she also addresses the collective and societal traumas that hold us back as communities. She believes that in order for true change to happen, we must first address these issues at a collective level. She uses her platform to bring awareness and educate others on the importance of trauma-informed approaches for building healthier, more resilient communities.


Lisa Forbes is more than just a professional speaker and author - she is a living testimony of transformation and empowerment. Her journey, from poverty and incarceration to success and purpose, is what fuels her mission to help others overcome adversity and find healing.


Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Lisa experienced first-hand the systemic challenges that can lead to a life of recidivism. Despite these obstacles, she was determined to create a better life for herself and her family. Through personal growth, education, and determination, Lisa was able to break the cycle and turn her life around.


Now, as a successful speaker and author, Lisa shares her story to inspire others and provide practical tools for overcoming trauma and adversity. She is a living example that no matter where you come from or what challenges you face, you have the power to transform your life and make a positive impact in the world.


In the midst of the pandemic, 2020, Lisa released her memoir, "I Can Take It From Here". Through this book, she shares her personal experiences and lessons learned, while also providing actionable steps for anyone to start their own journey of transformation.

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Community Reviews

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 Forbes’s memoir reads like a mash-up of episodes of Orange Is the New Black, a Toni Morrison novel, a self-improvement book, and a polemic—in the best possible way. None of this should come as a surprise, since Forbes found literature, including Morrison and Shakespeare, while incarcerated for stabbing her daughter’s father. The book unfolds in ways that clearly identify the ways in which childhood sexual trauma and its enduring effects shaped Forbes’ trajectory, yet she never positions herself as a victim at the individual level. Instead, she uses her experiences to illustrate the societal issues that lead to recidivism and create barriers for individuals released from prison. As she notes, of the roughly 650,000 people released from prison each year, almost 2/3 are re-incarcerated. She examines structurally what causes this and provides clear, actionable steps that could reform the policies that make it nearly impossible for people to reenter the workforce and find meaningful, safe ways to live in our society after being released from prison.

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VERDICT:  Forbes has a story that needs to be read, and one that she has clearly synthesized and analyzed to ensure its significance encompasses both her personal successes and a much larger societal reform.


 Foreword Reviews 
Reviews of Indie Books

Lisa Forbes writes with power and insight about recovering from trauma, incarceration, and subsequent injustices in her memoir I Can Take It from Here.


Forbes served fourteen years in prison for the murder of a former lover. She spent much of that time reading original thinkers like William James and Malcolm X, whose work challenged her underlying assumptions of their respective cultures. Upon her release, she worked to put what she learned into action, facing Kafkaesque roadblocks to employment and housing in her quest to rejoin society. 


This skillful, varied text alternates between dramatic scenes and philosophical reflections. Its dramatic organization represents deep understanding of the political contexts of Forbes’s personal suffering, including racism and misogyny; this enhances her analysis of how “external circumstances and internal mental patterns kept reinforcing each other.” 


The book’s reflective tone—and Forbes’s significant knowledge and insight about systemic causes of incarceration and recidivism—sometimes clashes with its finger-pointing at individuals. But Forbes, who came from a family of readers and has herself been an avid reader since childhood, finds a more resonant explanation for “the way things are” by immersing herself in trauma recovery theory. After working for years in nonprofits that attempted to help people who were recently released from prison, she writes that “so many former prisoners suffered from the same thing I did: trauma. Like me, they were caught in a terrible loop that included the same bad decisions they had made before.” 


An inspirational memoir that moves from childhood trauma to incarceration to eventual reintegration into society, I Can Take It from Here is compelling as it argues that trauma resolution for individuals is critical to criminal justice reform.

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South Side Weekly Chicago

"Forbes’ memoir holds a particular place in the discourse surrounding criminal justice reform. As policymakers, activists, and ordinary citizens grapple with mass incarceration and public safety, Forbes is a voice to be heard in a conversation that must be had, as an advocate for addressing the root problems associated with crime with the hope of reducing recidivism and providing formerly incarcerated individuals with the opportunities they need to successfully re-enter society."

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