What’s the Fourth of July in Howard County without fireworks, ice cream and the QUITAPENAS.

The tropical Afro-Latin band, whose members are sons of immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico, are scheduled to perform before a Lakefront crowd in downtown Columbia during Thursday’s celebration, the result of a new partnership between the Columbia Association, one of the annual Fourth of July event co-hosts, and the nonprofit Luminus Network for New Americans.

“Diversity is a pillar of Columbia. July 4th is a celebration of our nation, and that means Americans of all experiences and backgrounds deserve to feel welcome and seen,” said Shawn MacInnes, CA’s new president/CEO, in a statement.

The collaboration showcases what the holiday is all about, “the freedom to express ourselves and come together,” Luminus CEO Gabriel Moreno said in an interview.

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When real estate developer and urban planner James Rouse developed Columbia in the 1960s, he envisioned a planned community that would overcome racial and economic discrimination and segregation.

In 1970, three years after he founded the planned community, the population was 88% white, 11% Black and 1% other, according to data from the Association of Community Services of Howard County.

But in 2023, some of Columbia’s population markers were higher than Howard County’s percentages, according to U.S. Census Data. In 2023, for example, 28.2% of Columbia residents were Black and 9.1% were Hispanic or Latino, while in the county overall, 21.7% of residents were Black and 8.9% were Hispanic or Latino, according to census data.

Collaborating on events is part of an effort to celebrate all of the cultures that exist in the county, Moreno said.

Luminus, which changed its name from the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network in 2021, works with immigrants from over 90 countries, providing services such as: citizenship applications, employment authorization documents, resume writing and school enrollment for children. The nonprofit organization has supported immigrants in the county for over four decades.

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Roughly 28% of county households speak a language at home that isn’t English, according to census data.

“The immigrant experience, that of my parents and of many others, whether or not one’s ancestors or family came to the Americas willingly, is such an important part of the illustrious tapestry which binds us together, along with the experiences of first nations peoples in the creation of the United States,” Moreno said in a statement.

On Thursday, Moreno is introducing QUITAPENAS, which is taking the stage before the fireworks portion of the night begins.

The band name means “to remove worries,” according to the band’s website. The group’s mission is to “make you dance and leave you without a worry.”

Dave Simmons, the director of programming for the Merriweather Arts and Culture Center, said in a statement that having QUITAPENAS perform “is an intentional choice to curate a sense of belonging for our Spanish-speaking friends and neighbors.”

For Thursday’s festivities, the Columbia Association created a resource guide that includes the schedule, road closures, parking and more. Columbia Association is co-hosting the Lakefront events with the county’s Department of Recreations & Parks.