White House reaches out to Baltimore celebs

Washington (CNN)The White House is courting a number of celebrities and sports figures, like the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony and former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, encouraging them to get out into the streets of Baltimore, with the goal of keeping things calm while also showing people can demonstrate in a peaceful way.

"I think that serves as a useful way for us to get the message out to the people of Baltimore," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said today, confirming that administration officials have been in touch with a number of other prominent Baltimore residents and celebrities as well.
"If there's an opportunity for us to rely on particularly well-respected voices, in Baltimore, to deliver that message, then we're going to encourage them to do so, and that's exactly what we've done," Earnest said. "That's appropriate, that's constructive, that's what we're encouraging everybody to do."
The President has no plans to visit Baltimore himself at this time, the White House has said, indicating that they don't want to divert resources away from local law enforcement. The White House has not, however, ruled out a visit at some point.
    The White House describes President Barack Obama as "focused" and "concerned" on the unrest in Baltimore, as well as the investigation into what led to Freddie Gray's death, receiving updates daily from his Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett.
    In the Roosevelt Room of the White House Friday, the President said it is "absolutely vital" the truth about Freddie Gray's death emerges, calling for a full accounting of evidence in the case and saying his attorney general, Loretta Lynch, is closely monitoring events on the ground.
    "What I think people of Baltimore want more than anything else is the truth," Obama said during remarks to reporters at the White House. "That's what people around the country expect. And to the extent that it's appropriate, this administration will help local officials get to the bottom of exactly what happened."
    Within the administration Valerie Jarrett has been taking the lead, engaging with community leaders and elected officials about Baltimore.
    On Thursday, a White House conference call convened civil rights leaders, faith leaders and a national stakeholders to discuss the situation. More than 1,500 people dialed-in and participated, according to a Democratic source.
    On Monday, President Obama will travel to the Bronx to speak at Lehman College, about his "My Brother's Keeper Alliance" which will soon form into a separate, independent non-profit foundation.
    The White House says it is likely the President will address the unrest in Baltimore in the context of the initiative, meant to address the opportunity deficit for minority youth.