Community leaders gathered in North Philadelphia on Saturday to hash out antiviolence strategies and plead with young men to put down their guns, a rally that was equal parts brainstorming and open defiance in the face of seemingly nonstop shootings.

As speakers took the mic at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, news about overnight shootings trickled in. In the middle of the rally, one woman was shot in another part of the city.

“It’s supposed to be the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection,” said Bishop Rosette Coney, pastor of the Church of the Living God in Strawberry Mansion. “We have somehow slid away from it. We need to bring it back.”

Darnell Deans Sr., the 32nd Democratic Ward chairman and one of the rally organizers, walked down Cecil B. Moore Avenue with a megaphone, seeking to draw more people in.

“If we don’t stand up, nothing is going to change!” he bellowed.

But even as Deans was speaking, a news release from the Philadelphia Police Department served as a reminder of what he’s up against.

Around 10 p.m. Friday, an unidentified man was shot in the head inside a corner store in Frankford. Four hours later, two women, ages 30 and 27, were shot in Kensington. Before dawn, another woman, 26, was shot three times in the buttocks at an unknown location.

All four victims were being treated at Temple University Hospital.

“This violence has got to stop. It’s senseless and it’s just destroying families and there’s no reason for it,” said Deans, who believes that some of the shootings are being fueled by social media. “We seem to have lost the right to speak to the youth and tell them that there are positive things to do here in North Philadelphia.”

Outside the rec center, organizers grilled hot dogs and chicken and handed out window signs that read “Not My Child! Stop The Violence!” Local community groups were on hand to connect residents with health and legal services.

Gabriel Palmer, 19, youth director of Community Healing 4 All, said he believes violence thrives in neighborhoods where there is poor communication among residents and a lack of accountability. He also cited popular music that glorifies violence, which is then amplified by social media.

“There’s a bunch of different layers to it, but you could say that social media has a big part to do with it,” Palmer said. “Everybody wants to be cool without even knowing what cool really is. They go after the wrong things. They look for attention in the wrong places.”

As of Saturday afternoon, the city had recorded 343 homicides — a 20% increase over this time last year. Mayor Jim Kenney has faced political pressure to declare a state of emergency. Some community activists even want the state to call in the National Guard to help fight crime. Kenney has rejected both proposals.

On Friday, police announced that a 15-year-old girl who was shot in the head Tuesday while playing basketball at a playground had died.

That evening, police reported that a man driving a stolen vehicle opened fire on officers in West Mount Airy — the second time this week that Philadelphia police said they had exchanged gunfire with an armed suspect.

Early Friday morning, Temple University police cameras captured footage of a man hanging out of the rear window of a Kia shooting an AK-47 rifle, police said. No one was injured in that incident, which led to three arrests.

Paroled juvenile lifer Kempis Songster delivered an impassioned speech Saturday, calling for residents to make a more concerted effort to influence young people in their neighborhoods.

“And I’m not talking about scaring them, because you ain’t going to scare our young people,” Songster said. “They ain’t scared of the grave, and they ain’t scared of prison. What it is, is they don’t care. And that’s what we got to address. They don’t have hope.”

Songster began speaking at around 1:23 p.m. Saturday; at 1:56 p.m., a 34-year-old woman was shot in the thigh in Kensington and was transported to Temple University Hospital, police said.

The rally was attended by State Rep. Donna Bullock and State Sen. Sharif Street, who said Philadelphia needs more state funding to address the violence, as well as additional local education funding, the lack of which Bullock described as the “root of the problem.”

“As a mother and as a state rep, it is frustrating and it is difficult to go to Harrisburg every week, every month, and then come home and hear my babies talk about how they heard gunshots last night,” Bullock said.

Street, whose office has several staffers who have lost relatives to violence, cited $5 billion in unallocated state funding that he said could be tapped for community violence prevention.

“What price are we going to put on our lives?” Street asked.

The senator said he looked forward to a future where these days in Philadelphia are “just memories” of a violent era that parents talk about, “like many of us in my generation can’t quite wrap our minds around the fact that we could be shot for sitting at a lunch counter.”

“That’s not real to those of us in our 40s and early 50s, but we heard about it from our parents,” Street said. “We can make violence a problem like that, where the next generation can’t quite wrap their mind around that you would get shot just being at a cookout on the Fourth of July.”