"I stand before you tonight as a candidate for the Mayor of Chicago," Meeks said from the stage.
The passionate church leader made his announcement at a glitzy event filled with guest speakers and entertainment.
When the reverend took the stage after 7:15 he talked immediately about creating jobs and preserving education for the children of Chicago.
"Jobs are scarce," Meeks said. "Unemployment and crime are both too high. Our City's Budget is underwater. Most troubling, however, is our education system - broken, with far too many of our children undereducated, unfit for college, unable to read and unqualified to do the high quality jobs that we as a city need to attract."
The reverend pledged not to participate in a negative campaign.
"People want to hear about solutions," he said.
His announcement comes on the heels of the announcement of U.S. Rep Danny K. Davis, who emerged as a so-called "consensus candidate" from a black city caucus. Meeks, the pastor of Salem Baptist Church of Chicago, and Davis both command considerable constituencies among the black community.
Meeks brought with him Andy McKenna, former Illinois GOP Chair and Frank Clark of Com Ed. Both men will act as finance chairs for the senator.