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Blumenthal Announces New Britain High School Student as Guest for State of the Union

[Hartford, CT] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today announced that Shayan Raghoo, a New Britain High School junior, will be his guest for the 2024 President’s State of the Union address on Thursday.

Raghoo, a JROTC student with aspirations to attend a U.S. Military Service Academy, met Blumenthal for the first time in February during a roundtable at New Britain High School on the Kids Online Safety Act, Blumenthal-led comprehensive, bipartisan legislation that would empower young people and parents with the tools and safeguards they need to protect themselves online and would hold Big Tech accountable for harms to kids.

During the roundtable, Raghoo and her peers discussed their experiences using social media with Senator Blumenthal, who was then able to share the students’ stories of toxic content and abuse with his colleagues in the Senate and continue advocating for swift passage of the legislation.

“My colleagues need to hear from Shayan face to face on what it means to be a young person on social media today,” Blumenthal said. “I have heard from students across the state at Danbury High School yesterday, at Conard High School in West Hartford, from parents, from teachers who all ask how many kids have to suffer, how many kids have to die before we do something about social media? It’s on a lot of people’s minds and I want my colleagues to hear firsthand from Shayan about why they need to care.”

“It is truly a privilege to have been chosen to represent the voices of students across the nation especially on such a critical issue as kids’ online safety. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Senator Blumenthal for this opportunity. His dedication to protecting the wellbeing of young people in the digital age is commendable and I am proud to have played a small part in contributing to the Kids Online Safety Act by sharing my opinion,” Raghoo said.

As Senator Blumenthal’s guest, Raghoo will join him for the State of the Union address, as well as accompany Senator Blumenthal to a Senate dinner where she will have the opportunity to share her story directly with Senators. Raghoo is a New Britain resident, a JROTC student with aspirations to attend a U.S. Military Service Academy, and an Advanced Placement U.S. Government student. 

The Kids Online Safety Act, led by Blumenthal and U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has growing support with 64 senators now cosponsoring the legislation. The bill unanimously passed out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Transportation, and Infrastructure in July 2023 and is awaiting Senate Floor action. 

The legislation is strongly supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders, including parents who have tragically lost their children or whose kids have been severely harmed by Big Tech, young people who want to regain control over their online lives, and hundreds of advocacy groups and experts who study and see the negative effects of social media firsthand in their communities. The growing group of bill supporters includes the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Nintendo of America, Christian Camp and Conference Association, Microsoft, The Foundation United, Parents for Safe Online Spaces (ParentsSOS), Snap, Street Grace, and X.

In close coordination with stakeholders and Congressional colleagues, several changes were made to strengthen the legislation and clarify the language. The updated bill text can be found here. A new landing page for the legislation, with the latest information about the bill and helpful resources, can be found here and here.

Video of Tuesday’s announcement can be found here.