Meet one of the people behind Quebec's 'Ça va bien aller' posters
Inspired by a similar initiative in Italy, Gabriella Cucinelli decided to bring the symbol of hope here
When Italy went into lockdown due to COVID-19, Gabriella Cucinelli started feeling an overwhelming sense of despair.
She immigrated to Quebec City eight years ago, but her entire family, including her elderly mother, still lives in southern Italy.
As the number of cases slowly started to climb in Quebec, she knew it wouldn't be long until she found herself in a similar boat.
Reading the news coming out of her home country, she came across a photo: posters of rainbows plastered all over the streets of Italy, bearing the slogan "andrà tutto bene."
Seeing the phrase, which translates to "everything will be all right," combined with the colours of the rainbow, the 39-year-old instantly felt calmer. And that's when she had an idea.
"I felt we needed a nice message. We needed something to encourage people," she said.
"I thought, if it makes me feel better, by sharing it, it might make others feel better."
She called up Progetto Infanzia, the group behind the posters in Italy, and asked for permission to translate the slogan and use it in Quebec. They said yes.
"I didn't want to take credit for the message," said Cucinelli. "I just wanted to transfer the rainbow all the way to Quebec."
A mother of two young children and an early childhood educator herself, Cucinelli set to work and asked her children if they wanted to draw a rainbow with her.
"My children have two cousins in Italy who have been confined to their home for five weeks," said Cucinelli.
"They were really happy to be able to post it up and spread a message of hope to the city and the province."
They put it up in their window on March 14 and people took notice of it almost immediately.
She decided to post the photo in a Facebook group of fellow educators and parents and that's when she watched the idea take off. Now, the message has been plastered outside homes and businesses across the province.
Aside from giving people hope, Cucinelli felt making the posters would be a good way to distract children who were stuck in their homes, and would help soothe some of their anxiety.
She's been overwhelmed by the hundreds of posters, rainbow displays and messages she's seen across the province.
"I find it amazing how not only people, but institutions and organizations have been using it. So many monuments in cities in Quebec have lit up in rainbow colours."
Cucinelli owns the rights to use the rainbow and "ça va bien aller" combination. If a business wants to post the two together outside their shop window, she asks that they consider giving a donation to a non-profit organization.
She has been giving the donations she receives to La cantine pour tous, a food security organization in Montreal.
With files from Cathy Senay