Retta, who also appeared on Parks and Recreation, took to Instagram to share her sister-in-law's efforts to change a New Jersey law that prevents some workers from collecting unemployment benefits. Retta's sister-in-law, April Sirleaf, left behind her job to take care of her 4-year-old son Andrew, who was diagnosed with leukemia in August.
"My nephew got sick and my sister-in-law lost her job (she wasn't allowed unemployment benefits) because she couldn't afford to NOT be home with him during his chemo," Retta wrote on Instagram. "She's fighting so other mothers [and] fathers don't have to go through the same stress. If you have a moment please sign the petition."
Retta then directed fans to April's Change.org petition to urge politicians to clarify the law that states an employee cannot receive unemployment benefits if he or she quits "without good cause attributed to work." Based on April's account, it appears that her employer and the state did not deem Andrew's treatments as a "good cause attributed to work." She also stressed that she in no way is seeking money to cover Andrew's bills, but does want the government to take action.
"Imagine this; one moment you are living a happy life with two healthy children and the next moment, you find out your son has leukemia, your job is unwilling to accommodate, and the state you live in determines you resigned 'without good cause,'" April writes. "The stress, heartache and disgust I am faced with is something I plan on seeing no one else will have to go through.
"While things have been very difficult not only emotionally but financially as well, we are fortunate enough to have incredible support around us. We are not forced to choose between putting food on our table or being able to support our child through treatment, but there are many families that are. It is disgraceful that when emergencies like this arise, the state of New Jersey can disqualify someone for unemployment benefits that have been paid into by the employee."
Aside from detailing the story behind her case, she also opened up about Andrew's condition.
"Andrew was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on August 3, 2018. He will be undergoing over 3 years of chemotherapy," she wrote. "As you can imagine, this shocking diagnosis not only is an emotional nightmare, but it has created great financial hardship for my family. I have since lost my job, and we are now a single income family with an influx of medical bills for Andrew, as well as another son, Justice, who is 1-year-old."0comments
Retta's post about the diagnosis and April's petition has helped the cause earn almost 1,000 signatures as of press time.
Photo Credit: Danielle Levitt/NBC